Beating Exam Stress

Exams often spell a time of stress for children and their parents. Stress can easily multiply when children sense the anxiety of parents. Instead of adding stress to your child, you can help make the experience less painful with these simple tips! 

1. Make a plan
A study plan helps to set out expectations for your child as to when they should be studying and how much they should aim for. Working out an achievable plan with them also helps them take more responsibility of their studies; it definitely helps you reduce unnecessary stress!

2. Have a break
Giving your child regular breaks helps them recharge and refocus. Factoring in time for play isn’t harmful; it helps develop other parts of their brain, and also makes the exam period a more positive one. 

3. Eat smart
Research shows that a good breakfast is linked to higher success academically. Make sure your child has regular meals to keep their energy level consistent, and where possible incorporate ‘brain foods’ like eggs, nuts and fish, to give the right nutrients for brain performance.

4. Learn in "style"
Some children need a distraction-free environment; others study best with music in the background. Do you know how your child learns best? In Every Child Can Succeed, Cynthia Tobias shows how to help your child by discovering their learning style.

5. Recognise effort
Some children naturally excel in sports, while others, in music or language. There are more than five known intelligences and yet exams only measure one or two. Some kids may bring home ‘B’s, no matter how hard they study. Praise them on their effort and perseverance, rather than focus on results. And resist the urge to compare them with other kids.

6. Love unconditionally
Most kids just want to please their parents. If they find that the only way to please you is getting ‘A’s, the exams will become more than a test of knowledge and problem-solving skills; they become a test of worthiness to be loved.

7. Put things in perspective
Exams serve to move children along the school system, but the values that they learn in the process of schooling will stay with them for life. Take the opportunity to nurture perseverance, responsibility and a love for learning. It will go a long way!

© 2009 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

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