Supporting students' emotional wellbeing throughout the exam period


Exam time can be incredibly tough on a pupil’s wellbeing, especially if a sixth form or university place is riding on the outcomes. But teachers have the ability to make a big difference, by showing support and understanding at a time when pupils most need it.

With a rising number of pupils seeking support for coping with stress and anxiety, according to Childline, this takes on even greater importance. Ultimately, the help and guidance can go a long way to helping youngsters to achieve their full potential. Here are just some of the ways that teachers can support students’ emotional wellbeing…

Focus on preparation

If pupils know what they will face in the exam hall, it can make a huge difference to their overall wellbeing. Ensure they understand the types of questions they will see, and that they grasp what the invigilators will be looking for. This will boost their confidence and can enhance some of their soft skills too.

Flexibility is key

The majority of pupils will feel a lot more comfortable around exam time if they feel the pressure on them is lessened. Teachers can do this by forming regular patterns of communication, such as via email or classroom time, while also creating an environment where a youngster feels they can reach out at any time. 

Encourage them to talk about their anxieties and to ask questions if they’re unsure about anything. Having that open line of communication can really help pupils, especially if they feel as though they’re in a position where they have no one else to turn to.

Emphasise constructive feedback

With exams looming, pupils will not want to feel that they’ve taken a step back. All feedback should focus on how they can improve and better themselves, as this fosters a better mind-set. It can also help youngsters to focus on areas that they can work on, which should hopefully enable them to fulfil their potential.

Emphasise positivity!

A pupil’s emotional wellbeing can be heavily impacted by those around them, and that includes teaching staff. Teachers should be as positive as possible around exam times, even if they are shouldering a heavy workload. This positivity rubs off on others and can be a welcome boost at a time when students are facing emotional stresses. Try to ensure that classroom environments are as relaxed as they can be, which is often supported by structured lesson planning. On top of this, a few encouraging words to start and end sessions can leave pupils feeling on a high and ready to succeed.

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