How parents can reduce exam anxiety
At JK Educate we help families deal with every stage of education, from 7+ entrance exams and SATs to A levels and University applications. Entire families can get weighed down with the ongoing pressure for children to succeed, but there are many tactics parents can use to lighten the load.
Here are a few simple tips to help your family deal with exam stress:
Preparation and organisation
If your child has tests or exams coming up, ensure that they know well in advance exactly when they will be and precisely what will be tested. Starting revision early can dramatically reduce stress and panic closer to the test date. Make sure your child has all the resources they need for study, from a hole punch and multi-coloured pens to revision guides and past papers to practise on. Where do they prefer to work in the house? Ensure their work space is warm, comfortable and quiet enough for their needs.
Depending on the age of your child, they may need help with scheduling their work. Routine really helps – and scheduled hourly breaks in revision are vital to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Schedule in small treats and outings to break up the pressure, and encourage regular bedtimes (and winding down properly before they try to sleep).
Ask for help
Encourage your child to ask for help if they need it – from you, from friends or from teachers. This help might be with difficult topics, or might relate to coping with anxiety and stress. Look after yourself as well; if you are feeling the strain as a parent, ask for support too, whether it’s professional advice or just reassurance from a friend.
Love and support
Never underestimate the positive impact you can have simply by being a supportive parent. You don’t need to be an expert in the subject they are studying, but show an interest, encourage them, try to motivate them by establishing a feel-good factor about the learning, and let them know you are proud of how hard they are working.
At the end of the day, all your children need to know is that you love them and that no exam result – good or bad – can affect that.
Keeping calm on the day
On the day of an exam or test, your job is simply to ensure your child has a good breakfast and sets off feeling positive, with everything they need for their exam. No last-minute testing or questioning: keep conversation light and don’t initiate any talk about the exams, either the night before or on the morning itself. Try to resist interrogating them about the exam afterwards too, especially if they have more exams in the following days. Your supporting role will continue to be a very important one!