Helping the child exam nerves

Students doing the exam in classroom

Exam time can be a challenging time for children and young people, and their parents or carers. But there ARE some ways that you can help your child ease the tension and nerves.

Look out for signs of anxiety

  • Children and youngsters who are anxious about tests and exams may worry a great deal.
  • They will appear and feel tense
  • They may suffer from lots of headaches and tummy pains
  • They may have trouble sleeping
  • They may go off their food
  • They will probably feel a bit negative
  • They may show signs of anger or frustration

Support from a parent, or even a tutor, is also important at this time. It will help the youngster keep things in perspective, especially if he feels he is going to fail the exams.

If you can encourage your child to talk to a member of school staff who they feel is supportive, this will certainly be of help to them.  If you feel your child isn’t coping as well as he/she should be, then it’s fine for you to have a word with his teacher.

Make sure your child has a good, nutritious diet.

During SATS, GCSE’s, A Levels or any other exams/tests – it’s really important for the child to be eating well and to stay hydrated.

Too many high-sugar and high-caffeine foods and drinks (such as fizzy drinks, sweets, chocolate, burgers and chips) make children hyperactive, and irritable.

Where possible, get your child eating nutritious foods and make sure when he/she is revising, he has some healthy snacks to keep him going.

Sleep Problems

Make sure the child gets a decent night’s sleep – every night! Explain to them that you understand that they want to keep studying but they are defeating the object because if they become too tired the information is NOT going to go into their subconscious mind. Panicking at the last minute before a test or exam is not beneficial – the child will try to cram in a lot of revision on the night before the exam but do encourage him to go to bed and gets a good night’s sleep.

Help your child to revise

Ask your child what HE or SHE needs in the way of help for them to study properly, making sure that you are not going around the house with the vacuum cleaner just as they are about to revise would be a good idea! The cleaning can wait! 

Help them make an organise revision plan – working back from the first day that the exams start and making a note of which subjects need more time and effort. Keep your child motivated, remind him that all this studying and revision will be worth it when he sees the results!

Talk to the child about exam nerves

Explain to your child that feeling anxious about exams and tests is normal. Nervousness is a natural reaction to exams, it’s good, it means you CARE!  The main thing is to stay positive!

involve your child in doing practice papers under exam conditions or visiting the exam hall beforehand. School staff will be happy to help with this.

Exercise and movement during revision

It is important that the child doesn’t sit studying/revising for hours on end without any exercise or at least some movement. If he or she can get out for a walk even better but a quick walk around the house every 30 minutes or so will suffice!

Exert your listening skills

Listen to your child, try not to criticise him. Instil into him that failing an exam is NOT the end of the world and they will more than likely be able to re-sit the exam. Talk to your child about some rewards for doing revision and getting through each exam. Not big rewards, just little treats. Always remain positive with your child, if he feels he has flunked a test or exam just say: “Oh everyone feels like that when they come out of the exam room – don’t worry – I’m sure it will be fine!”

When should a Parent seek help for their child?

Some children cope really well before, and during the exams, but as a Clinical Hypnotherapist I have treated many, many children who are anxious, stressed, depressed and full of nerves and tension. Sometimes it’s a good idea to get them a little bit of help prior to the exams so that they remain calm and don’t have a complete meltdown on the day.  I am happy to advise any parent on whether or not I think their child would benefit from a little help to keep their mood up and their confidence high!

Contact me at:

Leave a Comment