Exams are a punishment for the parents

In my view, a brain can only have so much capacity, a bit like my camera’s memory card that blinks up full the second the dog is so hilarious that £250 fromYou’ve been Framed is just a ten second video away.

This week has been the brain equivalent of force feeding. I have been helping the son revise so much that I don’t think I can claim to be a non-pushy parent. A juggernaut of ambition more like, if the alacrity with which I seized the Latin vocab sheets is anything to go by. If anyone ever needs me to decline dominus or rex, I’m your woman. The son, of course, still thinks rex is the name of next door’s dog and dominus is something to do with Fifty Shades of Grey. While I was there suggesting little notes, rhymes and visual prompts to jog his memory, he was seeing how many yawns he could do in one minute.

You cuddle the dog, I'll write the notes

You cuddle the dog, I’ll write the notes

So filled is my poor aching brain with guff about methyl orange, the equation for hydrochloric acid and yeast (unicellular!) that if I don’t get a bit selective about what I remember next, there’s every chance the useful brain cells will get pushed out and I’ll know that litmus paper plus ethanoic acid gives us red but I will have forgotten how to do my bra up. Or perhaps I’ll know the equation for photosynthesis but have to be reminded how to clean my teeth. The son, on the other hand, won’t know what colour the litmus paper will be, but will know the exact shape of every stain on the ceiling. He’ll still be bumbling through a shaky combination of water, sunlight, oxygen and carbon dioxide, but will have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the moves needed to move up a level on FIFA 16.

So what’s the answer? Not help at all? Trolley off to the sitting room to snuggle with the dog oblivious to the son’s wails of ‘I don’t get this!’. Shrug shoulders and let him sink into the depths of despair? I wish I could.

Maybe my mother had the right idea after all. Reverse psychology though I didn’t realise it at the time: ‘Put your books away and come and watch telly.’

I never did.


Kerry Fisher’s latest book, After The Lie, is out now:

UK: http://amzn.to/1ST8uWC

US: http://amzn.to/1WTpJpe


  1. What a good Mum you are I dread getting to this day! Mich x

    • Thanks, Michelle, I don’t feel like one a lot of the time…impatient and cranky….but doing my best! It’s exam week this week and they must be growing up a bit now…it’s all surprisingly calm, though I was still having to do hideous algebra practice last night!

  2. As a mom that has on teen doing her aS2 and another her GCSEs I hear you. I think I’m about to go insane from the “I can’t do my chores I’m revising” to the “you don’t understand” I may be in need if therapy before the end of this term.

    • I’m wishing you the best of luck…finally the kids’ exams are over and I can breathe again…until next year, of course! All the best xx

  3. Hey lovely Kerry, We are going through the very same with our 15 year old boy!! Who knew how fascinating Physics could be…said no mother ever. We tried pushy/supportive/full on psychopath until he said..;for the love of God mum, back off, give me some space and just trust me to do what I need to do’….which it turns out meant sneaking out his window in the middle night to the beach party of the year when he had his most difficult exam the next day!…..I am well and truly backed off and can only hope it’s all part of the grand plan ;)…..he aced the exam by the way….so I have no argument! x

    • Oh Linda…I feel your pain! But thank goodness he is smart enough to ace the exams without needing to sleep…roll on summer holidays xx

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