The Hidden Cost of Exam Season for Parents and Guardians

Diane Duguid

We all want to give our teenager the best possible support we can as they prepare for their Higher exams and you may be surprised at how quickly the hidden costs can mount up, especially when multiplied across five subjects.

Textbooks and Stationery

Revision and additional text books are a popular go-to, with each typically costing upwards of £10; many of the authors choose to produce two, one to cover the theory and the other, a companion additional questions source.  Anecdotally, many parents have told me their teenager never even opened them, after spending over £100.  In fairness to the student, the books do tend to have a lot of information crammed into each page, and despite the use of colour and maybe a less formal use of language, quickly become very difficult to wade through in such a dry manner!

You may want to consider buying second-hand and tolerate someone else’s annotations in the margin!

Commercially produced past papers are readily available, some of which you have to pay a cost to get the answers.  The papers and their worked solutions can be downloaded for free, direct from the SQA website. SQA - NQ - Past papers and marking instructions

Additional stationery can begin to add up – a favourite pen, colours and highlighters, folders, organisation charts, post-it notes, a working calculator all might be on the shopping list, especially as students often prefer to have their own revision notes separate from the school’s.

Extra IT requirements such as an additional laptops, the cost of internet access or data usage, especially during April and May, may need to be included in your budget considerations.

Private Tutoring

Paying for extra, private tutor sessions and commercially-based revision classes can very quickly run into many hundreds of pounds; if this route is an option for you, bear in mind there are no regulatory requirements to offering a tutoring service, it may be worthwhile checking their qualification to teach before parting with your cash.

Of course for many parents and guardians of children facing their Higher Maths exams private tutoring is not an option due in part to the financial strain it can place on families during the current cost of living crisis.

Financial Incentives

If your teenager is financially motivated, then some parents may considering rewarding study with cash. Of course, incentivising your teenager to study while managing a budget can be quite challenging.  

The best reward you can give them is free - your time, attention and unconditional support; that’s what they’ll remember when they look back over this time. However, entertainment treats such as a cinema trip with friends can be really effective and might have to become part of your exam survival arsenal.

Research suggests that parents are coming under increasing societal pressure to reward good grades, now averaging more than £150, but offers of new mobiles, holidays or driving lessons are also coming into the equation. The parents say their main motivation is to encourage their teenager to take their studies seriously as well as learn about the relationship between hard work and reward. Should we be paying cash and rewarding good grades?

There are many pros and cons for financial reward, but no right answer.  You know your teenager better than anyone else, so you know what’s best for your unique family situation.

The Solution?

When it comes to your child’s education you don’t want to necessarily opt for the cheapest option but hiring a tutor comes with its own risk that potentially won’t lead to the focus, study and results your child is hoping for. That’s why the ILS Higher Maths Revision app is a fantastic alternative that enables your teen to choose which topics they need more support with, allowing them to revise only what they need to, at their own pace, with absolutely everything they require to revise and pass their Higher Maths exam.

Enjoy a FREE 3 day trial of all of the ILS Maths topics by signing up here.

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