How to help your child deal with revision and exam stress

Are your children dealing with exam stress right now? Education expert Ross Dickinson, author of How to Get Top Grades in Your Exams gives us his top tips for overcoming revision stress

 Revision can place a huge strain on the mind and the body. There’s no denying the fact that over the coming months leading up to the exams, your child will probably have to work harder than they have ever worked before. So it’s important for your child look after themselves – both physically and mentally – because physical and mental strain can only lead to one thing: STRESS.

Keeping stress levels to a minimum is an absolute must – not only will this help enhance revision time, it will also help towards gaining those desired A*s.

Stress can often feel like it’s all in your head. In fact, if you keep your body healthy it’s very likely that your mind will stay healthy, too. We all know the kinds of things we should regularly do to maintain a high level of health – but when days are filled with revision, revision, revision, it's easy to forget the simple things that will help keep your child in good working order. Here are four:

Sleep well

Encourage your child to get a good night’s sleep every night. Eight hours is optimum, but don’t aim for fewer than six or more than ten. Keep to a regular pattern: go to bed at the same time each night (definitely before midnight) and set an alarm to wake up at the same time each morning. Avoid naps during the daytime, as this can make it harder to sleep at night.

Eat well

You all know what I’m going to say here, right? It’s the usual key phrases: balanced diet, five fruit and veg a day, less sugar, etc. That first phrase, however, is the most important. A balanced diet doesn’t have to mean cutting out all sugars and fats – in moderation, they can be part of a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes, a bar of chocolate can make for a lovely reward after a particularly gruelling revision session. Just don’t overdo it! (Hint: if your child is struggling to satisfy their sweet tooth, frozen grapes make for a healthy and delicious alternative to sweets.)

Exercise well

You don’t have to go to the gym or run a half marathon every day to exercise well (and, with all that revision, they probably won’t have the time!). No matter – simply taking a walk outside, riding a bike for 30 minutes, or even dancing in their bedroom to a few tunes are all excellent ways of exercising.

 Drink well

Make no mistake, water is your friend. It is so important to stay well hydrated while revising. While there’s a chance that caffeine-rich drinks could leave them feeling dehydrated, water will always make them feel better. Encourage your child to drink plenty of it every day – if not, they run the risk of headaches, grogginess, reduced concentration levels and, of course, stress.




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Ross Dickinson is a secondary school English teacher and his new book How to Get Top Grades in Your Exams is available in all good bookshops and online.

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