Friday 22 June 2018

Methods to Beat Exam Stress

It's that time of year where kids up and down the country are all facing some sort of tests and exams. Whether that be GCSE's, end of year assessments, phonics tests or something more generalised. There seems to be a lot of pressure put on kids these days to do well because governments set unrealistic targets and children feel the need to meet these goals in order to do well in their future. 

But in a society where anxiety in the younger generation is on the rise, how can we help our children beat that awful exam stress? Here are five tips on how as parents, we can help our children to achieve their goals whilst keeping a positive outlook on things.


Trust in your child

I think we have to remember that each of our children are individuals, they have their own minds and they will already have methods that they feel help them in achieving their own goals. Don't question how they want to revise, simply ask them how you can help them with how they want to do it.

It's about remembering that your child has their own mind, they know what they want so letting them set their own revision time table, allowing them a bit more independence in decision making will only ease any pressure they might be feeling.

Positive communication

Think about how you say things, a question phrased in a certain way could have a real affect on how they approach things. Don't push your own methods of working on to your child. Instead ask them to show you how they work things out, you can then offer advice on how you'd perhaps improve on that method.

When they are practising something, how you respond will undoubtedly have an affect on them. If they don't get everything right, don't point out the negatives. Instead focus on what they got right, point out that ok they may have got a question wrong but now they know the answer, it's something they can continue to improve.

As parents we want to encourage and motivate and that means being reassuring rather than criticising.

Be aware

Even if you feel like you yourself aren't putting any pressure on your child to do well, they will more than likely still feel stressed in some shape or form. If you see their mood changing, see them perhaps becoming less social, less talkative, perhaps they aren't sleeping very well or they are complaining of feeling unwell more often than not. You need to talk to them!

Ask, "are you feeling stressed?", sometimes they won't know the exact route of the problem themselves, but by asking a simple question, they will at least know that you are there for them and this keeps communication open.

And if they won't open up to you make sure that they know that there are other lines of communication, whether that be a staff member at school, another family member or a close friend.

Flexibility is needed

I'm sure your children have certain chores that they are normally expected to do. It might be as simple as keeping their rooms tidy, helping with the washing up etc. But during revision time be prepared to ease up on the work load. You can help them by lowering these sorts of expectations during exam periods.

At the end of the day exams don't last forever, we were all young once and I don't know about you but I can still remembering feeling utterly overwhelmed so anything we can do to lessen these feelings is a good thing.

Reward success

And by this I don't mean just offering incentives to do well in the first place, I mean look at rewarding the effort that they make just by revising. There is enough for children to be doing with homework, reading, even chores at home. So to add revision to that, well it's asking a lot isn't it.

If they revise for 30 minutes, think about rewarding that with letting them have control of the TV for half an hour. It's like anything in life, it is all about balance. 

One last thing, not really a tip just a suggestion. At the end of the day all we want for our children is for them to be happy, healthy and being the best they can be, so regardless of exam outcomes make sure you celebrate their successes, just taking the exams is a BIG thing and we want them to know that we are proud of them regardless of results. 


  1. Exams have finished this week in my house! My daughter finished her GCSEs and I have had a son taking 4th year finals too, and the other son took A levels last year - so i "get it'. It is a stressful time and I think this starts so much earlier now in UK schools with so much emphasis put on tests in primary school. Our kids are bright, yet both boys have had anxiety issues requiring counselling - one self harming and needing drugs - and my girl is absolutely exhausted today! So.....theses are some great tips for parents of any kids taking tests, exams or finals! #PoCoLo

  2. We don't have any exams in this house this year just the normal end of school year ones but there doesnt seem to be a lot of pressure so far. These are great tips and gcse's are something we're not too far away from now! #pocolo


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