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Diane Stainton Counselling

Psychotherapeutic Counsellor, Registered MBACP (Accredited)

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Adolescence > Exam stress > Christmas Past & Present >  

Managing Teenage Exam Stress


Worried about how your child will cope during the forthcoming exam period?




We are about to enter the end of year school exam period; a time which many young people face with dread; a time when parents’ own fears and anxieties may resurface to complicate matters.


For many adolescents about to sit AS and A level or GCSE exams this is such a fraught time. Most of our children have been told since primary school how crucial it is for them to work hard and do well in their final school exams; how their future depends on getting the best results; how they must achieve those 5 A*s if they are to get into any decent university. Not realising it perhaps, as parents we have been putting pressure on our children because naturally we want to see them fulfill their potential. Our children on the other hand may have become so concerned not to disappoint us that they become overly anxious and unable to cope.


Of course for some students the pressure of study and revision brings out the best in them and they sail through the choppy waters of exam time; for others unfortunately steering themselves through the waves is too stressful and they flounder, or find themselves in the doldrums, or worse they capsize.


How to help

  • Gently encourage your son or daughter to talk to you about their studies and how their revision is going. Offer to help plan a timetable for revision.

  • Make sure they are getting enough sleep - revising into the small hours works only for a minority!

  • Encourage them to continue to play sport or take exercise. This will help them mentally as well as physically.

  • It’s especially important they have time away from revising, time to see friends.

  • Remind them you will love them whatever happens.


  • If you are particularly concerned for your son or daughter, if they seem to be more than usually withdrawn, angry or anxious, encourage them to speak to a school counsellor or contact a registered, qualified counsellor who has experience of working with young people.