The exam can be as stressful for you as for your child. This is very normal and tends to have an affect on the whole family. Working as a team with your child is a great way to reduce this stress. Plan, work and progress together towards the actual exam. Having someone to talk to and share their fears and worries can help to reduce anxiety. 

You can notice exam stress by watching for signs of stress such as being irritable, feeling tense, worrying a lot, not sleeping enough, eating unhealthy and generally not doing a lot of fun activities or being in a pleasant mood.

My first tip to help cope with exam stress is to start preparing on time so that you have sufficient room to change and improve your unique revision plan. The best approach is to continuously improve your revision schedule based on your child’s progress. Try not to pressure them to hit certain milestones too much, but instead always be supportive in reaching the milestones. Doing regular revision is a key to achieving this.

While revising you should remain realistic about your child’s potential. Have regular conversations about their progress and how they’re feeling about their own progress. Are you aligned with how it is going or not? Ask whether and how you can help them best. But keep in mind that continuously talking about the 11+ exam or secondary schools can get quite annoying. Also make sure they eat, sleep and exercise well. A balanced diet, good sleep and regular exercise will boost energy levels and help concentrate better and for longer periods of time.

So you and your child should both take it seriously and help each other out. Within the revision schedule, try to plan test moments after which you mark your child’s work and sit down to reflect on their progress. Encourage and help them to tackle the areas that they’re struggling the most with. This starts by identifying these areas and as a parent you can really help in that. The mock exams are great way to do so and at the same time give your child several dates to which they can work towards.

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