Dealing with GCSE exam stress

Studying for GCSE exams is inevitably a stressful time. While a degree of nerves is to be expected – and can indeed prove beneficial – reports of heightened anxiety and stress amongst GCSE students in particular have led to increasing concerns from teaching bodies.

This year’s Year 11 students are the first real cohort to face the challenges of the sweeping changes to the GCSE exam structure and mark scheme across a wide range of subjects, and teachers and other teaching professionals fear that middle to low ability students and those with additional needs, especially dyslexia, will be particularly badly affected, resulting in poor exam performance.

As a paediatric psychotherapist who works with schools and individuals both in person and online to better manage anxiety and build confidence in the build up to exams, I would urge education professionals to treat mental preparation with the same importance as academic preparation – and begin focusing on their students’ mental wellbeing at the start of the academic year with some basic revision advice.

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