5 tips to help your child navigate a stressful exam season

It is no secret that, for some students, the exam season represents a stressful time. Antony Nesling and Beverley Bloem, Diploma Coordinator and High School Counsellor at ACS International School Cobham, have shared their advice on how you can help your child(ren) conquer exam season without being negatively impacted by stress.


Manage stress, don’t avoid it

First and foremost, it’s important to recognise that exam season is not something your child can avoid. If the result of an exam matters to your child, it is inevitable that the possibility of not achieving their desired grades will create feelings of stress and anxiety. When these feelings occur, your child should not run or hide from them, but face them head on. This will enable you and your child to identify the trigger points and make a plan in order to deal with the feelings effectively, allowing them to work towards effectively utilising stress as a tool. Once your child can manage their stress effectively, they will be able to focus on the task at hand and do the best that they can.

Master study time

Somewhat linked with managing stress, mastering study time is arguably the most important thing students can do to help themselves during exam season. Most students will be revising for several subjects at once, all of which require a great level of understanding with a lot of information to learn – it can be overwhelming! Without a plan, your child could end up feeling as though they haven’t given each topic the time and attention they deserve. By creating a schedule for study time, your child will be able to visualise how much time they should spend on a subject, which will give them the confidence that they are sufficiently prepared.When creating this schedule, we would recommend making it a physical copy instead of digital. By having something tangible, your child will be able to keep it visible at all times to help keep them focused when revising. But this isn’t just to your child’s benefit; a physical schedule can also keep you in the loop on your child’s study time, and can help you aid your child’s focus and make sure that they’re accountable to their timetable.

Read related articles

Avoid burn out

Be careful of your child doing too much. If your child’s study time doesn’t account for adequate rest, recreational time and regular breaks, they might start to find themselves mentally unable to focus on the task at hand. Ensuring that your child looks after themselves in this period is just as important as revision. As cliché as it might seem, getting a good night’s sleep and eating healthy foods will help them recoup energy and maintain focus for longer which, in the end, will result in a more productive study session.Remember, every student is different: some students may not burn out for a whole day, some students it may be a few hours – but the important thing is that your child is honest with themselves, and you, about what rest they need in order to help them keep pushing forward in a productive manner.

Develop a flexible routine

Even with sufficient rest and a study schedule that allows for plenty of time for revision, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your child will be in a healthy routine with study time. By having a rigid routine that’s focussed solely on studying, your child may start to find that studying becomes a chore, and not an enjoyable part of the exam process. Our advice, would be to help implement a healthy, flexible routine that allows your child to enjoy their day, while also staying true to their original schedule. For example, a routine that involves, having your breakfast, going for a walk, seeing some friends, and then revising, would be more enjoyable than waking up and revising for the same amount of time. A rigid routine that doesn’t account for enjoyment will ultimately become harder to follow, and as a result may turn your child away from wanting to revise. Flexibility allows them to take control of their own time, and with your support can maintain a healthy relationship with their study schedule.

Redefine exams

For our final suggestion, we recommend redefining what exams really mean. We often see students who stress over exams, and it’s easy to see how failure is their biggest fear during exam season. Exams are important for educational development, and of course, every student should work hard to be able to do their very best, but not getting their desired grade will not determine whether they will be happy or successful later on in life, or solely define their future. Help your child to embrace their own pathway, whatever that may look like.

ACS International School Cobham

Far more than just a school, ACS International School Cobham is a friendly, vibrant international community with a global outlook that guides our world-renowned curriculum. Based on US educational best practice, we offer a new kind of learning for a new kind of world citizen. Our goal is as simple as it is inspiring: to make our students ready for the challenges of tomorrow, so they thrive at every stage of their lives. We are home to 1,200 students aged 2 to 18 from over 60 countries, cared for and taught by 300 expert faculty and staff members.

Join us at our Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner at Two Temple Place, London WC2R 3BD on 6 June to hear the winners announced and to celebrate our 20th Anniversary.


Read about award-winning global mobility, leadership and education in the upcoming Summer issue of Think Global People magazine, which will reveal the teams and organisations being celebrated in the Relocate Think Global People Awards 2024. Secure your copy here.


Have you heard about our Think Global People community?

Subscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all the latest international assignments and global mobility news.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.

Related Articles