Stress of taking exams, boy revisingSo, you have decided to sit your child for grammar or private school and they have agreed. They have seen the school and like it – all they have to do is sit several exams, hopefully pass and get in. However, when making the decision to put your child through the 11+ you have to think about how they are going to be actually sitting the exam.

Being in a room with other children they possibly don’t know – having space between the tables and sitting in silence and doing an exam that is timed and slightly pressured. And every 15 minutes they are reminded of how much time they have had and how much longer there is. At 10 years old! Saying that out loud makes me think – how can we do this to our children and will they be able to cope with the stress of doing exams? We still put them through this process because we know they are fairly academic and capable of getting into the said school. And most of us would have said to them, “give it a go – you may get in. And if you don’t, then fine, it’s okay”. Well, I like to think that most parents would. I think it is an experience for children to sit but I also know it is not for every child. I believe a healthy self-esteem is needed and the confidence to be able to walk into a room full of strangers, focused and knowing you can give it your best shot.

It can be stressful and nerve wracking for your child but the reward can be great when they get into the school that you know is going to be the best school for them.  The child may think of the immediate stress rather than the reward of getting into the school, so how can we help them be more relaxed?

Helping Children Deal With The Stress Of Doing Exams

Before the first exam,  (and all the others they may be doing), talk through how they feel about the school and the exams. Are they worried about any part of it and what can they do to help them stop worrying? Explain that all they can do is give it their best shot and that everyone else probably feels the same. Talk through the strategies they can use whilst in the exams such as allowing enough time for all the questions, keeping their panic in check and not looking around at what everyone else is doing. And for their well-being before the day ensure they get a good night’s sleep and eat well. Don’t push and make a huge issue out of sitting and let them relax the day before and the day of the exams.

A little bit of stress and nerves is healthy, especially when it comes to your child having a new experience. If the stress becomes too much suggest that they don’t take the exams – give them that option. What do you think about children sitting the 11+?

It you need help for your child who is sitting exams to manage their revision, keep their stress in check and be able to take it in their stride then please contact me.


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