Tips & Advice

6 Tips To Help Your Children Manage Exam Stress

Published: 9th May 2023
Updated: 3rd May 2024

From May 11th, children at the end of Key Stage 2, in year 6, will take a set of national curriculum tests in English grammar, punctuation and spelling; English reading; and mathematics.
The results of these tests, commonly referred to as ‘SATs’, are used by Ofsted to assess the quality of teaching and learning that schools are providing; however, studies show that children are feeling under increasing pressure to perform well in them, with one in ten even reporting being unable to sleep due to worrying about SATs*
We know that kids are more likely to shine and show their best when they are feeling relaxed and confident – so here are six tips to help parents and carers keep stress at bay during exam season!

6 Tips To Help Your Child Beat Exam Stress

1. Make sure your child eats well around exam time. Choose healthy snacks rather than sugary drinks and food, which can encourage low and high mood swings.
2. Make sure they get enough sleep. Allow at least half an hour between homework or screen time and bedtime to give them a chance to wind down; this is also a good time to gently encourage them to share any concerns they may have about exams with you.
3. Make sure they have a comfortable place to work if they are doing homework or revision. Remember, little and often works best – last-minute cramming is rarely a helpful approach!
4. Be calm and encouraging, and available to talk to them about any fears they may have. Talk to their teacher at school if you feel they are not coping, and encourage them to share their worries with a trusted friend, parent or tutor to help keep them in perspective.
5. Remind them that nerves are normal and can even be useful to push people through a challenge. You can also help to reduce anxiety by familiarising them with the test; make sure their teacher has talked them through what exactly will happen, and looking through practice papers together at home, as well as any they may be doing in school.
6. Exercise and fresh air can help burn off anxious energy and change perspective about exams (for parents as well as children!). Be positive and reassuring, reminding them that exam results are not the end of the world, that they are a test of schools, not children, and that you love them, no matter what the outcome.
We’ve also written a blog for parents and guardians on supporting their children with 11 plus exam prep. From early preparation to practice papers, we’ve got it all covered.
If you wish to read more insightful pieces that could be discussed with your children, visit the Talking Points section of our website.
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*morethanascore.org – primary assessment research briefing

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