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How To Help Your Child With Exam Stress

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

GCSE exams can be a challenging and stressful part of your child’s life. It’s natural for students to be anxious about how they will perform, however excessive stress can impact the overall well-being of your child.

As a parent, you play a significant role in ensuring your child gets the most out of their studies and helping them cope with exam stress. This is why it is important for all parents to be educated about what they can do to reduce the stress and anxiety they may be feeling.

We have compiled a list of tips to help your child with exam stress, so if you find yourself in this position, you will know the correct steps to take.

How To Help Your Child With Exam Stress: 8 Tips

  1. Help your child make a realistic revision timetable

  2. Limit time on electronic devices

  3. Help your child study

  4. Ensure your child begins revising early

  5. Remove any household pressures

  6. Ensure your child has fun

  7. Have realistic expectations

  8. Hire a reliable tutor

1. Help Your Child Make A Realistic Revision Timetable

Effective revision plays a crucial role in the amount of stress a child will face, and whilst you can’t revise for your child, there are a number of ways you can help them. The best place to start is by assisting your child in drawing up a regular revision timetable.

Revision timetables are great as they not only ensure your child covers everything but they also help your child balance their time efficiently across all subjects.

You can download a free daily, weekly and monthly planner template from BBC bitesize.

2. Limit Time On Electronic Devices

An excessive amount of screen time on electronic devices can damage your child’s concentration and can distract them from their real life priorities.

In addition, the use of electronic devices before bed can massively impact the quality of your child’s sleep. Good sleep improves thinking and concentration, which is vital during the exam period. Most teenagers need a minimum of 8 to 10 hours' sleep on a school night. Learn more about how much sleep teenagers need.

how to help a child stressed for exams
Allow an hour or so for your child to wind down between screen time and going to bed, to help them get a good night’s sleep.

3. Help Your Child Study

Communicate With The School

Get in touch with the school to find out what is being examined and ensure your child covers all of these topics.

Help Them Revise

Make sure your child is revising effectively. Re-reading the same book won’t help your child learn and remember information.

We recommend firstly reading the information, and then learning it.

Once your child has absorbed and understood the information, they should then begin to make notes. Some children learn best from creating brainstorms/ mind maps, whereas others find techniques such as making flash cards most effective. We recommend using a mixture of techniques.

Now your child has made notes, they should apply this knowledge in exam practice questions. It will be far easier for your child to answer questions in the exam if they've tried similar ones at home beforehand. Completing practice questions will also show your child which topics they have already mastered, and which topics they need to spend a bit more time on.

4. Ensure Your Child Begins Revising Early

There is no such thing as revising too early. The best time to begin revision is two or even three months before the exam.

Last minute revision often involves regurgitating the main facts and figures, but at this point it's too late to begin to actually understand and remember them. Revising sooner rather than later means your child will experience less stress and anxiety, plus it allows them to study at their own pace rather than tiring themselves with all-nighters days before the exam.

Revise Little And Often

Unfortunately, there’s no perfect number for how many hours a student should study for an exam, but we recommend little and often.

Revising for hours upon end will leave your child exhausted and can hinder their concentration. However, revising often but for short amounts of time is key to retaining information/skills and more likely to reduce stress levels .

5. Remove Household Pressures

Be flexible around exam time. Remember that your child is already under stress, so if possible, don’t pressure them into doing household chores.

6. Ensure Your Child Has Fun

Your child can’t be revising all the time; let them step outside and have a break. Make sure they take part in fun activities to unwind, such as sports, drama, singing, socialising and reading. Ensure you also encourage relaxation; music and art are ideal activities to aid in stress relief and reducing anxiety.

Taking part in these activities will help your child focus better and help manage their stress.

7. Have Realistic Expectations

ChildLine says that parents must be realistic about what their children can and can’t achieve, with more than 50% of exam stress among students being rooted from pressure piled on by parents.

It’s very stressful if parents are expecting or even demanding top grades from their child, who realistically can’t achieve that.

Your child may feel they have failed if they don't achieve what they thought was expected of them.

8. Hire A Reliable Tutor

The best way to help your child prepare and ultimately reduce stress is by getting a reliable, experienced tutor for the subjects they are struggling most with. At GCSE Masterclass, we provide tuition for Maths, English, Science and many other subjects.

Qualified teachers are the best and you should look for someone who can provide references of happy parents.

How We Can Help

At GCSE Masterclass, we use only the very best teachers. All our staff are fully qualified, experienced teachers who have a proven track record of high quality teaching and excellent results within their GCSE classes.

Contact us to find out more about how we can quickly improve your child’s confidence, grades and future.

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