How to support your students during the exam period


Pupils are currently returning to exam halls, providing teachers with fresh challenges that they haven’t needed to address for several years. With many youngsters taking tests for the first time since the pandemic and with exams running until the end of June, here’s how teachers can support pupils in the weeks ahead. This is especially important given that ChildLine has reported a surge in youngsters seeking support for stress and anxiety issues relating to exams in recent months.

One way to support pupils is to acknowledge the challenging nature of exams, as this also helps to normalise some of the anxiety that they are facing. It can also be helpful to encourage youngsters to take regular breaks during periods of revision and to emphasise the importance of sleeping and eating well.

Guidance for your students

It’s imperative to note that the exam period this year is slightly longer than normal, starting mid-May through to the end of June, as part of efforts to mitigate the potential impacts of Covid-19. In some subjects, there will be at least a 10-day gap between exams to ensure that pupils will not miss all tests in that subject. Teachers should look to reassure pupils on the processes associated with exams and should check the relevant exam boards for the latest information as this can then be relayed to students.

How exam grades will be decided

Exam boards are also set to be more lenient when deciding grade boundaries this year, designed to alleviate some of the anxiety faced by pupils who feel they have lost out on education. Be as supportive as possible when any questions are asked and remind pupils of the ways they could break down challenging questions to make them more understandable.

Changes to exams and how they work

It is key to note that there have been some adjustments to the way that the exams will work, including more information being provided to students on what to revise, fewer topics needing to be learnt and the use of support materials. This is expected to only be available this academic year so be sure to give all the information that you can to your students.

Support for students

YoungMinds has a wealth of support materials for school staff which can be downloaded, all of which are designed to make it easier to help pupils through the exam period. Exam results are expected in mid-to-late August, with A-level outcomes released on 18 August, and GCSE results following a week later on 25 August.

Here by mistake and looking for our current Exam Invigilator roles? Take a look at our current exam vacancies