Help your child cope with exam stress the easy way with our EdPlace top tips.
1) Make getting up easy – did you know that there’s a fool-proof way to help even the most slothful of teenagers get up on time so that they are bright and alert on exam days? It’s involves a bit of science; natural sleep rhythms mean that using very quiet music as an alarm is more likely to cause waking during a light phase of sleep instead of the deep phase of sleep that most noisy alarm clocks are a rude awakening from. Most mobile phones will have an alarm feature that can be used for this or many standard clock radios have this function.
2) Have a good breakfast – nerves and exam jitters are made worse by an empty stomach with nothing in it to digest. Stock up on palatable breakfast treats that are fun to eat.
3) Avoid last minute cramming – it just induces panic. Encourage planning in time for proper revision and help out where you can with relevant practice and worksheets, then make time for a relaxing revision-free period prior to the exam e.g. a family meal the night before so that revision and the exam aren’t top of their minds just before bed, making it harder to get a good night’s sleep.
4) Resist the post-exam debrief - it’s tempting to quiz with questions like ‘How do you feel it went?’, ‘Were the questions what you expected?’ but bite your tongue and let them choose to talk to you about if they want to – make sure you let them know they can, regardless of how they feel it went and that show that you’re interested without being overbearing.
5) Make time to share in end of exam celebrations – even with all of the above taken into account, it is still a stressful time during which a lot is expected and hopefully achieved, so make sure this is acknowledged by planning in time to congratulate and celebrate.