Revising for and sitting GCSEs can be a stressful time for young people. While, to a degree, this is to be expected, there are steps that can be taken by schools, parents and the students themselves, to look after their wellbeing during exam season.
The Charlie Waller Trust has developed excellent Wellbeing Guides for teachers, young people and parents, to help promote an emotionally healthy approach to GCSEs.
Top tips for teachers
- Look after your own staff wellbeing and you’ll be in a better position to support your students.
- Encourage peer support and equip pupils to know how to respond if they are concerned exam pressure is having a negative impact on one of their friends.
- Ensure each pupil knows where they’ll be completing their GCSEs and under what conditions.
- Reinforce how proud you are of their efforts – it’s important to acknowledge effort and determination.
- Discuss emotions and coping strategies. Reinforce that anxiety is largely normal, and not something necessarily to be afraid of.
Top tips for pupils
- Make sure you get plenty of sleep and stay well fed: sleep and food help keep the brain moving!
- Balance revision with down time and rest. Exercise and spending time with friends are great ways to de-stress!
- In an exam, don’t worry if there’s something you can’t answer. You can always move on and go back later.
- Be organised – make sure you have all the information you need about an exam in advance.
- If you’re worried talk to someone – a teacher, a parent or a friend.
Top tips for parents
- Find out how, where and when the exams will take place, so you can support your child to be organised and prepared.
- Encourage your child to complete homework and coursework, but also encourage them to rest, have fun and enjoy their hobbies.
- Plan something nice and fun for the weekends before, during and after GCSE season.
- Encourage your child to talk to their teacher if they seem stressed or anxious about their GCSEs.
- Ensure your child is eating and drinking well, and getting a suitable amount of sleep.
Download the whole guide (12 pages) for parents here.