Exams Stress Advice For Teens

16 April 2015, 06:00

ChildLine is reminding young people that help is available if they feel anxious or worried about exams.

The charity says it experienced a 200% increase in calls about coping with exams last year.

It says for the first time ever, school and education problems emerged as a top concern among those contacting the helpline.

Not wanting to disappoint their parents, fear of failure and the general pressures linked to academic achievement were all major themes.

Elaine Chalmers, Area Manager for ChildLine, said:

"The exam period can be a very stressful and anxious time for young people.  

"As these figures reveal, the pressure to do well is being felt by an increasing number of young people across the country. We hear from lots of young people each year who are anxious, worried or panicking about their exams and revision.

"We want to let them know that they are not alone and that ChildLine is here to listen to them."

Stresses about exams affected young people's ability to sleep, triggered anxiety attacks, depression and tearfulness, and eating disorders. In some cases it also led to self-harm and suicidal feelings, or made them worse.

One teenage boy who spoke to a ChildLine Scotland counsellor said: "I am about to take my Standard Grades and I am under so much pressure as my parents are expecting me to do really well.

"I am going to revision classes and trying really hard but I feel like it is not good enough for them. My parents don't allow me to do anything else apart from revision and if I try and talk to them it always ends up in an argument."

To help children and young people cope with exams and combat anxiety, ChildLine is offering the following advice for young people:

"    Make sure you take regular breaks from revising and do some exercise

"    Go to bed at a reasonable time and try and get some sleep

"    Getting a good night's sleep will help you much more than trying to revise all night - you will just end up very tired the next day

"    Try to think positively - even if you don't feel like it, a positive attitude will help you during your revision

"    Take some water into the test with you, if you can. Keeping hydrated by drinking water will help you concentrate.

The ChildLine website has a special 'Beat exam stress' section for children and young people to visit. As well as calling ChildLine's free confidential helpline on 0800 11 11 or visiting childline.org.uk, young people can also send emails to trained counsellors or receive support online via one-to-one chat.