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Turning exam stress into exam success

Our top tips to take GCSEs in your stride


Studies have shown that stress can adversely impact children’s exam performance. So with changes to the GCSE assessment structure coming into full force this year, proactively coping with stress is more important than ever. Here are our top tips on how to spot – and stay on top – of exam anxiety.


Spotting the signs of stress

Stress can come in many guises, and profoundly effect both our mental and physical health. If your child is repeatedly complaining of headaches or stomach aches, doesn’t seem to be sleeping as normal, or is showing a change in their usual appetite, stress could be the cause.

Similarly, increased irritability, a lack of interest in activities they usually enjoy or negative expressions about the future are all warning signs to look out for. Although there are lots of ways you can help alleviate stress at home, if you have any concerns at all, you should always consult a doctor.


Top tips to stay on top of stress

  • Keep your child talking – whether that’s to you, to a tutor or a study buddy, talking about their concerns is a great way for children to share the load and gain some perspective.
  • Stick to a balanced diet – tempting as those high-calorie treats may be, they can cause increased irritability. So help your child feel well through exam period with a healthy diet.
  • Practice makes perfect – practice papers, sat under exam-like conditions, are a great way to prepare, helping your child feel more comfortable about what’s to come.
  • Break bad bedtime habits – winding down is essential for a good night’s sleep, so encourage your children to switch off laptops and phones at least 30 minutes before bed. And try not to let them cram the night before an exam – they’ll be much better off with a few extra hours of sleep than last-minute revision.
  • Create a supportive learning environment – whether through a dedicated studying spot in the house, or a revision timetable, creating a structure around exam times will help take the pressure off.


If your child is preparing for GCSEs this year or next, make sure you read our latest news article on the changes coming into effect this summer. And for more stress-busting tips, or further support with exam preparation, get in touch with the Figtree team.

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