Tests and exams can be a challenging part of school life and can feel overwhelming for children and young people.

It may be tricky to know how to support them through this difficult period but as a parent or carer, there are things you can do to help them ease the stress. 

Spot the signs of stress

Common signs that your child is experiencing stress include:  

  • Upset stomach.  
  • Disturbed sleep.  
  • Loss of appetite.  
  • Being irritable.  
  • Low mood.  

Having someone to talk to about their work can help. Support from a parent, teacher or friend can help young people share their worries and keep things in perspective.

Encourage your child to talk to a member of school staff who they feel is supportive. If you think your child is not coping, it may also be helpful for you to talk to their teachers.

How you can help

In this video, Nadia from the Sheffield Parent Hub shares some tips on how you can help your child/young person beat exam stress. 


Tip 1

Provide opportunities to have conversations that are unrelated to the exams. alongside offering a space to listen about any exam worries they do have. Let them know their feelings are valid and normal, but also offer support and solutions where possible.

Tip 2

  • Work with your child to find what revision style, study plan works for them.
  • Encourage your child to take revision breaks and find a balance between studying and doing things they find enjoyable and relaxing.
  • Make sure they are eating and drinking at regular intervals.
  • Encourage them to take some time after revising to wind down. 

Tip 3

Give them time off chores. The pressure to perform well in an exam while preparing for it under challenging conditions is tough enough, so take a load off by excusing your young person from chores when they're deep in prep mode. They’ll appreciate the extra time to study or unwind, as well as the fact that you're looking out for them.

Tip 4

Ensure they know that difficult emotions are normal, exams and revision can be stressful it's normal for us to have moments of feeling overwhelmed, anxious, tired & low in mood. Encourage them but also explain that their life will not end if they don't get the results that they were hoping for there is always a way forward.

Remind them that this exam period is temporary, it's hard work but it does pass and there is a lovely break at the end of it where they can rest and recharge.

Work with them to develop relaxation techniques.

Remain positive and hopeful!

Plan a treat or an activity together to mark the end of the exams.

Tip 5

Finally, this one’s for you having a young person taking exams in the house is not easy for parents, so take plenty of deep breaths and time for yourself where you can. Remind yourself that you can't do it for them, all we can do is love and support them and know that whatever the outcome you will be in it together.

More information

For more information, read the Mind website page on exam stress.