Exam Stress: A Guide for Parents

advice for careers advisors and tutors

With the main exam and assessment period rapidly approaching, young people will be working hard to secure the best possible grades so that they can progress onto higher level study. 

As part of this, exam stress is likely to a common challenge for students, impacting both their academic performance and overall well-being. Acknowledging and addressing exam stress is crucial as it not only affects academic performance but also plays a role in a student's overall well-being

As parents, your role in supporting your young person(s) through this stress is pivotal. Luckily, there are some practical tips and insights that can be used to help you to create a supportive environment and understand how your encouragement can make a positive impact during exam periods. 

In this guide, we'll explain the importance of addressing exam stress in students of all ages and explore the crucial role parents play in providing support for the young people in their care.

How to spot exam stress

Spotting stress in your young person involves keeping an eye out for changes in behaviour, mood, and personality. Look out for signs of exam stress like:

  • Increased irritability
  • Physical pain/discomfort
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • A sudden lack of interest in studies

Paying attention to these cues can help you identify when your child might be feeling stressed.

What causes exam stress?

Exam stress can stem from various causes, such as fear of not performing well, or feeling overwhelmed by expectations. Understanding these factors helps parents provide targeted support that addresses the root of their child's stress.

Impact on academic performance & wellbeing

The impact of stress on academic performance and wellbeing is undeniable. Stress can make it challenging for your young person to concentrate, recall information, and maintain a positive mental state. It's like a fog that affects both their studies and overall happiness. 

As a parent, offering a supportive environment, open communication, and strategies to manage stress can make a significant difference in helping your young person navigate through exams with confidence and resilience.

How can parents help with exam stress?

Creating a supportive environment during exam stress involves fostering a calm and encouraging atmosphere. Ensure your young person has a quiet space to study, offer words of encouragement, and let them know you're there to support them, creating a sense of security.

Effective communication is key; take the time to talk with your child about their feelings and concerns. Listen actively and avoid putting undue pressure on them. This open dialogue strengthens your connection and helps you better understand their needs during this challenging period.

Encouraging healthy study habits and balancing academics with self-care is crucial. Help your child organise their study time, take regular breaks, and get enough sleep. Encourage hobbies and activities they enjoy to maintain a healthy balance and promote mental wellbeing

Reinforcing the importance of self-care empowers your young person to approach exams with a well-rounded and resilient mindset. 

Additional Resources and Support

Discovering available resources is a crucial step for parents navigating their young person’s exam stress. Look into school-provided materials, exercises, online tools/resources, and community support networks that offer guidance and assistance. Collaboration with teachers and school staff is equally vital.

Establishing open communication channels ensures a united approach in addressing your young person’s stress triggers, fostering a supportive environment both at home and in school. Additionally, when the need arises, don't hesitate to encourage seeking professional help or resources

Whether it's counselling services or specialised support; professional assistance can provide valuable insights and strategies to help your young person manage and overcome exam stress successfully.

Get support at UCEN Manchester

So, if you’re a parent or carer and are worried that your young person is struggling with stress during exam season - don’t fear! There are many effective methods and support networks you can access to help them through.

UCEN Manchester offers support and resources for young people during exam season, as well as advice for parents and carers supporting their young people through the transition from college or Sixth Form into university or another degree provider - like us!

For further personalised support, contact UCEN Manchester's expert team.

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