Support available to help young people stressed by exams pressure

With the Easter holidays behind us, lots of children and young people will now be turning their attention to their exams – whether this is SATs, GCSEs or A-levels.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 03 May, 2019, 14:06
A student sitting an exam. Picture by PA

This can be a hugely stressful time for some. This can be because of a fear of failure, feeling overwhelmed or a struggle to achieve a healthy work-life balance when studying.

One young person told Childline: “I’m really struggling with revision right now; I get so stressed out. I seem to put so much pressure on myself, and feel I have so much pressure put on me by others, that I just break myself down into a mess.

“I’m not sleeping and I just wanted to hear from anyone out there with any tips or advice to help me.”

For lots of young people, the pressure they put on themselves over their exams can feel all-consuming. This isn’t just because lots of young people see these exams as instrumental in them having the future they want, but also because they don’t want to let their family down, or they don’t want to be seen as a failure by their peers.

On top of the stress of the exams themselves, bottling up that stress can make a young person feel isolated and like nobody else is feeling the same.

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When a young person feels like the stress of exams is getting on top of them, we recommend that they take some time off from revision to clear their minds.

It’s important to take time off, and we know that going for a walk or doing exercise can have a positive impact on their mental health. We also recommend them writing down their worries on a piece of paper, listening to calming music, playing a game, or doing something creative.

It’s always good to speak to someone about stresses and pressures – whether that is about exams or anything else. This can be a parent, teacher, friend or another trusted person – and of course our Childline counsellors are always at hand to lend an understanding ear.

We also have the message boards on the Childline website, which allows young people a chance of speaking to peers in an anonymous, safe way.

For free confidential advice and support about any worries, children and young people can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or www.childline.org.uk