James Whitaker

Exams and mock exams can be a major source of stress for many young people, and their parents. So it’s important to find ways to help your child prepare and deal with their stress and worry. As a parent you can help by being on the lookout for the early warning signs that your child or teenager is stressed or suffering from anxiety.

Some common signs of stress include:

  • disturbed sleep
  • poor eating (skipped meals, picking at the food on their plate, etc)
  • low mood
  • lack of confidence
  • frustration or anger
  • queasy stomach, headaches and flaring up of skin conditions such as eczema.

If you notice any of the above try and discuss them as soon as possible to find out if exam or school stress is the cause. If it is exam or school anxiety that is troubling your child discuss with them further.

For secondary pupils it’s a good idea to try and narrow down the issue; are they feeling stressed in general or is one particular subject worrying them. The more you can understand the more equipped you are to help them deal with it.

Talking to the class or relevant subject teacher and finding out what is happening in the classroom and discussing what you could be doing at home is a good starting point. It’s important for teachers to be made aware of any anxiety or wellbeing issues so they can support in school.

To help beat exam stress at home you can also try these top tips:

Make revision fun

Depending on your child’s age, make learning an exciting activity. For younger children try using toys and tools to help revision. Flash cards and online study aids can help.

Create a relaxing learning environment

Keep the study environment consistent and as stress free as possible. Set aside an area for studying.

Try not to set expectations too high

Avoid telling them that you know they will do well – instead focus on the message that you want them to do their best. 

Encourage breaks

Avoid burnout by encouraging relaxation and ensuring they take regular breaks from revision to do some of the other activities they enjoy.


For more advice and support visit the below sites;

Further Support for parents

Youngminds.org.uk has some great pupil wellbeing resources for parents and teachers and will be launching a campaign aimed at improving the balance between academic achievement and wellbeing.

actionforchildren.org.uk/support-for-parents offers parenting tips and advice and a helpful blog for parents

Support for young people

themix.org.uk has some top tips for helping a young person understand and deal with exam stress as well as a great stress relief tool to designed by young people for young people.

childline.org.uk offering advice and support for young people in dealing with stress and anxiety, including mood tracking and the wall of expression game.

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