Exam stress

Supporting your teenager through their exams

exam stress - supporting your teenager through exams

Exam time can be very stressful for everyone in the family. Your child may not want to sit all oftheir exams, or perhaps getting them to revise has become an uphill struggle. It's understandable that you will have concerns for their future and want them to do well in their education, so that they have plenty of opportunities after they leave school.

If you’re worried about your child’s exams and the marks they might get, imagine how overwhelming it might be for them. Preparing for and sitting exams can be a very pressured time, and then, once the exams are finished, it's a countdown to the results which can be equally stressful for everyone.

As a parent you can really help your children through this time, just by being there for them and encouraging them to talk about their feelings and fears. You can also ask for help from the school itself. Here are just a few ideas to make exam time that bit more bearable.

Top tips for exam revision

  • Make sure they have a comfortable place to work.
  • If you do not have a suitable spot, make it easy for them to study elsewhere, like the library
  • Accept that some people can revise better with music or the TV on in the background.
  • Establish a revision routine by re-arranging the family’s schedules and priorities.
  • Talk to the school about what they advise.
  • Be lenient about chores and untidiness as much as you are able to.
  • Give them a break and understand lost tempers and moodiness.
  • Try to avoid nagging them as it can help them lose focus.
  • It is never too late to study, revise or ask for help.
  • Don't go in for bribes; encourage them to work for their own satisfaction.
  • Schedule small and frequent rewards for the effort they are putting in.
  • Suggest a special evening or day out as it could give them a treat to look forward to.
  • Be calm, positive and reassuring and put the whole thing into perspective. They can always
  • take an exam again.

Preparing for an exam

Get them ready for an exam with plenty of planning and support.  Encourage them to get all their pens, pencils and equipment ready the evening before. Try to get them to go to bed early so they are able to have a restful sleep. In the morning, arrange for them to have a healthy and nutritious breakfast to help them focus and concentrate. Go through a checklist to make sure they have everything they need.  Give your child lots of encouragement so they feel more positive before they leave.  Let them know how proud you are of them regardless of how they think they do.

After the exam

After each exam, allow them the opportunity to talk about how they have done and allow them to do the talking while you listen. Encourage them not to dwell on mistakes they may have felt they have made. They may want some space to compare notes with other friends.  You may want to share your experiences of exams as this may reassure them.

Exam results mark the end of one phase in your child's life, and the beginning of another. This can be unsettling and difficult so let them voice their worries and expectations and listen out for any underlying serious issues.

Plan an event to mark the results, whatever they are and have some fun now with your child. Make it clear that you love and value your child for who they are, and not for what happened in an exam. You may want to take a look at our top tips for exam results for more advice. 

Further support from Family Lives 

If you would like further support and advice about homework and how to help your children, you can call our helpline on 0808 800 2222 too.

How we can help you

If you would like support and advice, you can talk to one of our Family Support Workers by calling our confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222. You can also share experiences and advice with other parents on our Forums. Family Lives is here for you and you can contact us about any family issue, big or small.

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