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Combat exam stress

Advice for teenagers (and their parents) on how to deal with the stresses of GCSE exams. Top tip: start preparing now.

Working towards exams can be a tough time for students – and their parents – and as exam days creep closer, it’s easy for students to feel anxious, stressed and overwhelmed. But some of this stress can be avoided, says Laura Glen-Cooper, the founder and director of Learn Grow Create, a private tutoring centre in Dorking. And with just three months until GCSE students begin their exams, now is the time to put strategies in place for exam revision and stress management.

Here Laura tells us what to look out for, some of the reasons for stress and how parents can help children combat the stress.


• Does your child seem seem withdrawn or disengaged?

• Has your child lost interest in things they would usually enjoy?

• Has their been a change in your child’s sleeping and eating habits?

• Does your child feeling grumpy and irritable?

• Is your child struggling to focus?

• Is your child hyper-sensitive – both emotionally and physically?

• If your child is suffering from stress they may complain of headaches and stomach pains

• Is your child expressing negativity or hopeless about future?


• A fear of failure

• Guilt to others

• Comparing to peers

• Lonely in worries

• Study overload

• Exhaustion

• Pressure from family

Woman is listening to music


• Have open conversations with your child.

• Relaxation exercises can really help.

• Good diet. Make sure your child is well hydrated and

• Don’t abandon your fitness regime and social activities. Exercise is good for reducing stress and keeping you positive, and on the plus side you’ll also sleep better

• Create a positive study environment that works for your child – whether that’s alone in quiet room or with music playing in the background.

• Encourage your child to work in their own learning style.

• Avoid bribes to get your child revising – it should be a self-motivated goal.

• Encourage your child to get outside for some fresh air and to take frequent breaks.

• Set a realistic schedule with balanced days and small bite-sizes.

• All-night cramming before an exam is a bad idea, sleep is far more beneficial.  The NHS suggests most teens need between 8-10 hours of sleep a night.

Learn Grow Create is hosting a one-day course – Combatting Exam Stress – focusing on wellbeing and exam preparation. The course will offer tips on exam preparation and relaxation techniques, with advice from a leading mindfulness coach and a professional life coach, as well as Learn Grow Create director Laura Glen-Cooper. It’s on Thurs 15 Feb from 10am-4pm at the Learn Grow Create centre, 261 High Street, Dorking, RH4 1RL. Tel: 01306 880407.

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