Reducing exam stress for kids

Exams are stressful enough as it is, without your child feeling unprepared going into it. Before your child goes into the exam hall remind them to take it one question at a time and not to get overwhelmed by the size of the paper.

Different strategies work for different people, so it might help to talk to your child’s friends and find out what works for them. You’re bound to find a trick that helps, then you can encourage your child to use those strategies when they’re feeling the pressure.

Make sure they’re not putting too much pressure on themselves and remind them that you’re there to help – whether it’s to help him revise, refuel, or to do the last-minute dash to the newsagent for that all-important lucky pen.

What can I do to alleviate exam stress?

  • Find a quiet space for her to study without distractions.
  • Find out what he’s studying and how his time-plan is working.
  • Offer to lighten the load around the house during her study period.
  • Force him to have breaks from study – at a certain point he will not be studying efficiently if he never takes a break
  • Develop some revision techniques with her – there are many ways to revise and they don’t all work for everyone, but revising methodically and calmly is the best way to study, as opposed to a panicked cram session the night before an exam.
  • Help him to find balance. While studying is important, it’s also important that he take regular breaks, engage in some physical activity and eat regular and nutritious meals.
  • Make sure that the weight of your expectations isn’t what’s causing her excessive stress.
  • Encourage him to take some time away from the books for friends.
  • Make sure that she asks for help if she needs it.
  • He may be interested in learning a bit of yoga or meditation. At the end of a long study session, it can really help power down an overworked brain.


If your child is obviously not able to do well, or is not working as well as he can, remember that there are other ways to do well in life without passing exams. You don’t necessarily flunk life if you flunk an exam.

On the day of the exam:

Having a plan of action on the day of an exam may help your child to focus and stay calm.

  • Double check the time and place of the exam and leave plenty of time to get there.
  • Make sure she has everything she needs to write with etc, – and provide spares for just-in-case.
  • Eat a good breakfast – even with a stomach in knots, he needs to eat something that will sustain him.
  • Go to the toilet just before the exam starts. A nervous stomach can result in a nervous bladder! Once in the exam, she should read all the directions on the paper and all the questions first so she knows exactly what she needs to do.
  • Remind him to plan out the allotted time so he has enough time for each question.
  • Tackle the easiest questions first. If there is something that’s hard, leave it and come back to it if there’s time at the end.
  • Once pens are down, and the exam is done, don’t let him torment himself by rehashing everything he imagines he did wrong.


This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot. Sources include S.A. Govt’s Parenting and Child Health and NSW Govt’s Dept of Community Services

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