Exam Stress

In NSW Year 12 Higher School Certificate Exams start in the next few days. For many parents there is relief that they are finally here and for others this is the culmination of an exceptionally stressful year. For the younger teens final year exams are almost upon them and in as little as 10 weeks school will be over for the year!

Most parents want their child to do well and yet don’t know how to best support them. Often well meaning parents can have the opposite effect and end up feeling frustrated and their teenager refusing to put in the effort. Try these tips for a calmer more rewarding exam period.

1. Give them space
Breathing down their neck watching how much they do will make them feel like you are trying to control them and not encourage productive study

2. Contain your worry
Talk to teachers or other parents but do not keep asking for reassurance from your teen. They can’t handle your worry as well as their own

3.Be encouraging
Even if they have been lazy for the last few months, now is NOTthe time to remind them. Only use encouraging, positive words

4.Don’t go on about it
Asking too many questions about their preparation and giving too much advice is not as useful as just listening. Listen from their point of view, don’t try and fix or solve things, just listen.

5.Highlight strengths and successes
Encourage them not to dwell on failures. It is normal for most students to feel that every exam was a disaster – don’t join the inquest

6. Provide a good place to study
Quiet, well ventilated, plenty of desk space and free from distractions. Turn off mobile phones and limit social media during study periods. Music is OK – just not too loud.

7. Encourage them to study in 45 minute blocks 
Then take a 5 minute exercise or food break – just make sure the break doesn’t turn into 30 minutes!

8. Avoid nagging
More hugging and less tugging. Too much pressure can be harmful. DO NOT compare siblings in any way.

9.Keep up exercise and routine responsibilities
The ones who perform best manage their time well and realise that life goes on and other responsibilities must be met as well as study.

10.On exam day 
Provide a good breakfast, ask them if they have everything they need for the exam (don’t tell them). GIve them a hug and tell them you love them.

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