Tips on helping your child manage exam stress

Posted : 16 October 2017

Exams can be a very stressful time in students’ lives, and as Year 12 students approach this year’s exam period, it is important that they maintain balance in their study routine in order to manage stress and minimise anxiety which may arise

Research conducted by the University of New South Wales in 2015, revealed that 42% of surveyed Year 12 students reported high level anxiety symptoms and 41% of students of these compensated by studying more and working harder but less efficiently, with 32% reporting an increase in procrastination.

As parents, we can help our children to maintain a healthy balance between study and relaxation to ensure that study time is effective. This can reduce stress and anxiety, enabling them to use their study time more effectively, and also set them up for a more balanced approach to work in the future.

Below are tips on helping your child manage exam stress.


Regular exercise is known to reduce stress, improve all round wellbeing and better sleep quality. Encourage your child to go on a short walk with the dog, shoot some hoops with friends or do something active with you. Even just 15 minutes of movement can make all the difference to their concentration, productivity and stress levels.

Eat well

Adequate nutrition is crucial to aid the brain to function at its best. Snacks that are a mix of protein and carbohydrates (nuts, yoghurt and fruit) are good choices. Have healthy options prepared for them and encourage them to stay hydrated with water, rather than sugary drinks.


Good quality sleep is imperative to concentration, memory and all-round physical health and wellbeing. Encourage a regular sleep routine – an earlier night is more beneficial than staying up late studying and then sleeping in.

Take regular breaks

Factor in regular study breaks – taking 10 minutes of downtime after an hour of study is usually more effective than long blocks of study. Encourage them to organise time for activities they enjoy once a week. This could involve a walk, sport, coffee with friends, Youth Group or Church, or watching a movie.

Give them space

Have a dedicated study space away from distractions. Some students find it helpful to have a space separate from their bedroom for their study time and materials. This way when it is time to rest, they can leave their study behind.


Keep perspective. Remind your child that who they are and their importance is not defined by a number. There are many opportunities available and there is an exciting future waiting for them on the other side of exams.

Balancing work and leisure is an important life skill. At Penrith Anglican College, we encourage students to learn and achieve personal excellence by understanding the importance of balance. As part of the College’s Wellbeing Program, our senior students cover topics such as identifying and managing stress and anxiety, mastering time management and study skills, memory tips and maintaining balance. Discover more about Penrith Anglican College’s Wellbeing Program by visiting our website.

If you notice your child is struggling with symptoms of anxiety or are concerned of any change in their behaviour, please contact Headspace, Kids Helpline or Youth Beyond Blue.