GCSE Exam Season

If you’re a parent or guardian of a teenager about to sit their GCSE exams in a matter of mere weeks, it’s likely you’ll also be feeling anxious about the impending GCSE exam season as it draws nearer. We know parents can’t help but go through the emotions with their child, so we’ve collated some tried-and-tested tips to help them – and you – through this challenging period.

Ways to help with exam stress and nerves

Every student is different, but it’s worth considering some small, simple strategies that parents and students alike have found helpful. Make sure your child:

  • Drinks plenty of water through the day. This is proven to help keep the mind focused and help ward off headaches. Try to discourage sugary or caffeinated energy drinks.
  • Eats regular, small, healthy meals rather than sweets or junk food. This helps with brain function, maintains energy levels and ensures regular short breaks are taken. Ensure they sit at the dinner table, away from their study environment and television.
  • Gets unbroken sleep of at least 7-9 hours a night. It’s recommended they go to bed and get up at the same times – even on weekends – to establish a routine and set their body clock.
Student studying
Student at his desk
  • Has a comfortable environment at home. This can involve ensuring things like adequate lighting (not too dim or too bright), proper ventilation and even soft background music, as well as a suitable study station such as a desk with a proper chair with good back support.
  • Does regular, gentle exercises such as walking, jogging or swimming (or of course, whatever your child enjoys). Exercise is proven to elevate mood and reduce stress and anxiety by releasing endorphins (your body’s feel-good chemicals) to help them stay positive.
  • Takes regular breaks doing something enjoyable! Although your child needs to focus and revise, they also need to time to switch off so that they don’t become overwhelmed.

Support for your child

As well as taking practical steps to support your child, it’s also important that they be supported emotionally. Exams are tough and competition can be fierce, so make sure your child knows they’re not alone in feeling the pressure of exams.

Encourage your child to see their friends regularly rather than rely on texting and social media. Inevitably, their friends are likely to be in the same situation, so spending time with those they can relate to can be a support and coping network that everyone can benefit from.

Of course, it’s also vital that your child knows you’re also there to support them and you understand the pressure they’re experiencing – even though you’re not sitting the exams yourself! Take time to reassure them that you’ll be proud of their efforts, no matter the results.

Young person being hugged by father
Student overwhelmed by stack of books

Unsure of the future?

No matter the outcome of this stressful period, your child must understand that, even if they do not get the grades they’re hoping for, exams are not the end. There are many options out there for a successful future should things not go to plan.

If your child is still making up their mind between A levels, BTECs or Apprenticeships, or isn’t sure about the choice they’ve already made, it’s a good idea for them to approach the education provider they are applying to, in order for them to help your child make the best decision.

A great opportunity to do this is to visit a College Open Event. You can register to attend our next Open Event here at Barnfield College with your child so we can discuss all options with you both.

Here at Barnfield College, our doors are always open for this very thing. Your child is very welcome to talk to our Student Services team year round – not just at an Open Event. They can contact us via phone on 01582 569569, email, online Contact Us form or drop in to see us in person! We have teams based at both campuses, available from 8:30am-5pm.