What if you don’t understand things?
There’s a lot to understand at school and college. It’s normal to feel confused sometimes, it's part of learning. Not understanding something about your homework doesn’t mean you’re stupid.
If you’re unsure about something, there are things you can do:
- Tell your teacher
They might be able to explain things differently, arrange extra lessons or give you support.
- Ask a brother, sister or friend
If an older brother or sister has learnt something before you, they might be able to answer your questions.
- Talk to your parents or carers
Your parents or carers might be able help you get more support, or explain things if you’re struggling. If you’re worried about telling them, you could try writing them a letter or ask a Childline counsellor for help.
- Find information online
There are lots of free resources online to help you learn. But it’s important to make sure what you’re looking at is accurate. If you’re not sure try asking your teacher.
Homework and revision tips
It can sometimes be difficult to plan time to revise or get homework finished. You might be too tired or have other things to do like looking after brothers and sisters, helping out at home, or doing sports or other activities.
Even when you’ve made a plan, keeping yourself organised and motivated can be tough. But planning ahead and organising your work can help you feel more in control and able to get things done.
Here are 7 tips to help you get your work done:
- Make a plan
Write down what homework or revision you need to do in a week as well as all of the other things you do every day – like spending time with friends or tidying up. You can then make a plan of what you need to do and when. Use BBC Bitesize’s revision planner to help you get started and keep it going using the mood journal.
- Do a bit at a time
Take regular breaks to help you focus, for example you could work for 30 minutes and then take 10 minutes to do something else. Make sure you take time to eat healthily and exercise.
- Use revision tools
Try using tools such as GCSE mind maps to help understand course content. You could also try writing things you want to remember on post-it notes and stick them on things where you live, like a door, wall or fridge, so you’ll see them every time you walk past.
- Remove the distractions
Put your phone somewhere else and make sure the TV is off so that you’re not tempted to do something else when you’re doing homework or revision.
- Think about what’s helped before
If you’ve taken exams before, write down what helped you revise and what you found difficult. For each thing you found difficult, try and think of what you could do differently or get advice from the message boards.
- Change your plans when you need to
It’s normal for things to get in the way of your plans to work. You might have a family event or an emergency. Even if you can’t keep to a plan exactly, do as much of it as you can.
- Ask for help if you’re struggling
It can be tough trying to catch up when you feel like you’re falling behind. Asking for help at school or from an adult you trust means that they can be there to give you support.
Coping with exams and tests
Exams can be scary and stressful, but we’ve got advice to help:
- Start a revision group with friends, try writing down important facts and testing each other.
- Make time to take care of your mental health when you're feeling stressed.
- Get a good night's sleep and read our advice on what to do the night before an exam.
- If you feel nervous before a test, try eating a piece of fruit like a banana. It might help to calm you down and stop you from feeling hungry.
- Keep hydrated by drinking water, it will help you to concentrate.
- Remind yourself that even though exams are important, they’re not the only way to be successful in life.
Try a few different ways of revising and see what works best for you. Our message boards also have lots of advice from other young people. You can share your own tips there too.
You can talk to us about anything
When you feel stressed or worried about something, it can feel really hard to ask for help. It’s normal to worry that how you feel is ‘stupid’ or ‘not important’, or that other people will laugh or not understand. But you don’t have to cope alone.
We’ll never judge you and we’re always here to listen. If you need support: