How do you comfort someone who is stressed about exams?

by | May 23, 2023 | 0 comments

Doing exams can be a stressful time for a teenager and young person. It can be stressful for parents and carers!

Here are some tips and pointers to help you along the way.

Always put on your own oxygen mask first

When you go an aeroplane, you are always advised that in the event of an emergency to put on your own oxygen mask first. The same applies to a parent or caregiver when you are supporting a teenager or a young person through their exams. It can be a stressful time for you too however it is important to stay calm where possible! To support them in the best way possible, you need to look after your own mental health and well-being.


Communicating with a teenager who has anxiety or is feeling stressed about their exams can be hard. It is easy to say the wrong thing or give the wrong advice without meaning to cause any harm.

If you say, “We don’t care what results you get”, they may think you don’t believe in them. “We know you will do great”, you can be putting pressure on them. “These exams are not really that big of a deal”, well it can be a big deal to the student. Instead of brushing away their worries, validate their feelings and acknowledge their nerves and anxiety. After the exam, if they’re unhappy with how the exam went, listen to them, support them, and encourage them move on and focus on the next exam.

Know when to stop talking!

Now is not a good time to project your hopes and dreams for your teenager or young adult onto them.

They don’t need to hear about your college experience right now. Another time maybe but not while they are in the middle of studying for their exams.  They don’t need to hear what you wish you’d done or how hard you studied. Be sure to avoid any criticism of them.

Adjust your expectations.

Be flexible around exam time. When your teenager or young adult is studying for their exams, try not to worry about chores and household jobs left undone.

Let them be!

Give your teenager or young adult the space they need during this stressful time. As a parent or caregiver, you have unconditional love for this person. It is only natural to try and make everything “ok” for them. While of course it is important to encourage your child to talk, sometimes all they need to know is that you’re there for them when they need you.

Support their mental health and physical well-being.

Have a constant supply of healthy snacks food at their disposal. A balanced diet rich in food such as fruit and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds can boost their energy levels and mental health. Some examples include, bananas, berries, walnuts nuts, eggs, spinach, broccoli, turmeric, cottage cheese and green tea. Here is a link to a video on food for exams.

Encourage your child to get a good night’s sleep by creating a sleep routine. Exam stress can make the young person feel more tired than usual. It can also make it more difficult to get or stay asleep. Sleep is important for mental health. It helps you to think clearly and gives you a boost of energy to deal with exam nerves and exam stress.

Most teenagers and young adults need 8-10 hours’ sleep a night. Be aware of the caffeine intake. If you feel your teenager or young adult is drinking too caffeine to boost their energy levels, this could have an impact on their sleep.

Sports and Hobbies

Parents and care givers often ask me should their teenager or young adults give up their sports and hobbies for their exams. Absolutely not!! Exercise increases the hormone level in the brain and releases endorphins. Exercise helps with sleep, relaxation, staying calm, low mood, and clarity of thought. Meeting with friends can just to the release value they need.

Make time for productivity rewards.

Have a think about rewards for doing study and getting through the exams. When the exams are over, help your teenager celebrate by organising an end of exam treat perhaps with their friends.

Here are just a few ways you can comfort someone who is stressed about their exams. If there are more specific issues you or your teenager or young adult would like support or coaching with, please reach out contact me for a free chemistry call here