Exams can be a significant source of stress for young adults. As they approach GCSE’s, A-Levels or simply mock exams, teens may start to feel overwhelmed.
Stress is a normal and useful biological process. It can heighten our physiological responses, increase concentration and improve focus. However, ongoing low-level stress can have negative health implications.
Chemicals produced in times of stress such as Cortisol and adrenaline can leave us feeling exhausted.
Stress needs to be actively managed and monitored, and teenagers need to understand that it’s good to speak to someone if they start feeling overwhelmed.
Here are some ways that exams can cause teenagers stress.
Many teenagers believe that their exam results will determine their future, such as their college, university or career opportunities. This can create a significant amount of pressure to succeed which in turn leads to anxiety and stress.
Preparing for exams can also create time management challenges for teenagers. They may have to balance studying with other responsibilities, such as extracurricular activities or part-time jobs.
If they don’t manage their time effectively, they may feel like they are constantly playing catch-up, leading to increased stress.
Fear of Failure
The fear of failure can be a major source of stress for teenagers preparing for exams. Teens may worry that they won’t be able to perform well. Af ear of failure can be particularly strong for teenagers who have set high expectations for themselves or feel pressure from parents or teachers to succeed.
Competition with Peers
Exams can also create a sense of competition among peers. Teenagers may compare their performance with their classmates, leading to feelings of inadequacy or pressure to outperform others.
This competitive atmosphere can create a stressful environment for teenagers who feel like they need to succeed in order to be accepted.
How can we help and support the teenagers in our life to manage exam stress?
If we are aware of their potential stressors and can provide support and guidance for them, we can help teenagers to manage the pressure more effectively.
By putting things into perspective for teenagers, providing support, helping them manage their time, and encouraging them to embrace a balanced approach to their studies, we can help teenagers navigate exam stress and achieve success in their academic and perhaps even their personal lives.
Youngminds - coping with life - exam stress
Royal College of Psychiatrists - Coping with stress for young people
NHS - Advice for parents worried about teen stress