Exam Stress

To nurture the skills of resilience is key to providing young people with the ability to cope with stress, adversity, failure and challenges. Resilience is evident when young people have a greater ability to “bounce back” when faced with difficulties and achieve positive outcomes.

Resilience empowers individuals to recognise the signs of exam stress and apply coping strategies to deal with it. If their results are disappointing resilience will allow them to look at their alternative options and different pathways.

It is normal for students to feel a bit worried about exams, especially if they feel they are under pressure from school or family. Exam stress can cause an individual to feel anxious or depressed, and this might affect their sleeping or eating habits. It may also cause physical symptoms such as having headaches and stomach pains and feeling tired.

In 2020 exams have been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic and exams will not be taken. The exam regulator, Ofqual, and exam boards will work with teachers to provide grades to students whose exams have been cancelled this summer. University representatives have confirmed that they expect universities to be flexible and do all they can to support students and ensure they can progress to higher education. The Government’s priority is now to ensure affected students can move on as planned to the next stage of their lives, including going into employment, starting university, college or sixth form courses, or an apprenticeship in the autumn.

Students will be able to appeal any decisions and be given the opportunity to re-sit exams as soon as possible.

Whilst Year 11 and Year 13 students will be assessed and given a grade based on the above system, it is thought that Year 10 and Year 12 students may have increased anxiety – having missed several months’ education in a school setting.

Schools may have to take action to ensure that their students are fully aware of what will be expected of them and how the 2021 exams will operate.

It is likely that schools have already thought about how to support the students who are to take exams in 2021 and whether they need to provide additional resources/services in this regard.

Parental/family pressure can seriously affect the student and work may need to be done with managing parents/families expectations and the need for them to support their child – including revision tips. 

Source – DfE

  • Identify signs of exam stress in themselves and spot the signs of it in others.
  • Know who to ask for advice and where to look for guidance on exam stress.
  • Select and use strategies to help them manage exam stress, including revision techniques.

Source – Rise Above