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Now is the time for many teenagers to start and panic about sitting their exams.

Now is the time many teenagers to start and panic about sitting their exams.  Exams bring out the best in some people, and the worst in others.  Exam stress can cause family friction, frayed tempers and nervous outbursts but this is all down to stress.  Stress is normal, it changes how the body and mind works and taking exams is bound to be stressful because everyone wants to do well and succeed.  All teenagers stress about taking exams, they might feel they have not done enough revision or worked hard enough, they may feel worried and anxious that they are letting everyone down, but as Morrissey sings “Do your best and don’t worry!

So what can you do to help and how can you spot if your son or daughter is getting stressed?

Physical symptoms of stress and anxiety include

  • Being unusually bad tempered, aggressive and annoyed at the smallest thing
  • feeling restless, tired and emotional all the time
  • suffer from stomach upsets, headaches and skin rashes
  • have panic attacks
  • sleeping badly
  • more likely to get colds and 'flu
  • addictive behaviours like smoking or drinking.

You may say your child has all of these symptoms, well don’t feel alone, your son or daughter is no different from anyone else, they all suffer from the same exam pressures in one way or another, but how can you help, the points below may be useful

Try to keep encourage them to keep to their normal sleep routine no extra late nights surrounded by text books and revision papers

It is really important when revising they start in plenty of time.  Help them devise a revision timetable – trying to cram heads full of data quickly just causes more stress and anxiety.  Set out a timetable of when and how much revision should be done in a day and don’t let them do too much 45 minutes at a time is plenty.  Write out a timetable of which exam takes place and when nothing is worse than revising for the wrong exam

Ensure they have plenty of short breaks; these give the mind time to clear so they will absorb more. Sit with them and write down everything they need to do, sort it into order of priority. Ensure that they have all the revision guides and notes that they need.  A good website for revision is

Do let them have some free time and fun, this definitely helps with the mood swings

Make sure their diet includes plenty of fruit and vegetables. Drink juice or water, avoiding too much tea, coffee and fizzy sugary drinks.

Encourage them to play a sport, or just take a walk to the shops and if your child is not sleeping, exercise can make a real difference.  It's a bad idea to stop their social life and sporting activities altogether, but for a period near the examinations, they may need to cut this down

After the exam is over, don’t let them think about all the answers they should have given this will only stress them further. Try to forget about the last exam, and focus on the next one.  Don't be too hard on your child; encourage them that to their best is all you ask and if they don’t do as well as you had hoped it’s not the end of the world.  Keep things in perspective. Be realistic about what can be achieved

It’s going to be tough times ahead, so good luck to all the students taking exams and good luck to all the parents too!!!