Helping pupils with anxiety ahead of exams


During school exam season, teachers have a pivotal role to play in helping their pupils to overcome any anxiety they face. Around one in six young people will experience anxiety at some point when growing up according to Anxiety UK, highlighting the need for support in and out of the classroom.

Alongside promoting quiet spaces and having older pupils acting as mentors for younger children, teachers should also have open discussions over how to handle exam stress.

The key is to encourage pupils to take actions themselves that can help to calm them down and keep a clear head. Something as simple as encouraging children to breathe when they’re feeling anxious can make a big difference to their well-being. By taking long, slow breathes, children should be able to calm themselves and regain their composure – an especially useful technique during exams.

Teachers can also play a crucial role in driving positive thinking in the classroom, as pupils should be pushed to focus on positive thoughts and to abandon negative ones. It’s important to explain that any negative thoughts will only be fleeting, and that whatever a pupil is facing can be overcome.

At the same time, pupils should be encouraged to seek support from an adult if they are concerned about anything or feel overly pressured by their peers. 

Having self-belief can also help children to reach their potential, and a little reassurance in the classroom can work wonders ahead of exams. Make sure that pupils recognise any achievements and that they can relate to the work that went into achieving what they did, as it should help them to prepare in the right way.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways that secondary school teaching staff can help to prepare their children ahead of exams to minimise the impact of anxiety on results.