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Students are often faced with a series of exams or tests at the end of term or semester, which are usually scheduled closely together. This can lead to great stress for students – and those who live with them! The words stress and pressure are often used interchangeably but in fact they are quite different. Pressure can be positive and useful to complete deadlines or to help somebody avoid danger. However, when pressure is prolonged, it can become negative, and depending on how the individual perceives it and reacts to it, it can lead to the development of stress.[1] This Hot Topic offers information and ideas on how to help your child or young person manage exam stress.

What is exam stress?

For some people, the increased pressure around exam time may lead to them experiencing stress symptoms much more readily than others. Stress can be defined as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demands placed on them’.[2]It varies from person to person and in many ways a stress response is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or that upset your balance in some way. However, we do know that prolonged stress can lead to illness, both mental and physical.

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How to help your child cope with exam stress
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