How to Manage Exam Nerves as A-Level’s Approach Home Straight


Professor Carl Gombrich, Dean of The London Interdisciplinary School, highlights ways for students to stay relaxed and focused during this exam period


Keep a sense of perspective:

As adults all know, exams don’t define a person. It’s worth pointing this out to your teen and reminding them that there’s always a plan B, C, or even D. If they don’t feel that the exams went the way they’re hoping for, then this can help reassure them that they’ll be OK. There’s often more than one way to achieve their dreams. Help your teen to research alternative pathways so they’ve got an actionable plan. This could be summer programmes, work experience/internships, support with job applications or even working abroad whilst they travel the world.

Take their mind off results & relax:

Worrying about exams won’t make it come any sooner; keeping their mind off it and enjoying themselves can be a helpful tactic. Listening to their favourite music, or podcasts (as long as they’re not about exams!), or even watching TV can all help them keep their results worries at bay.

Get a good night’s sleep:

It’s also a good idea to make sure your teen has a good sleep the night before exams. The last thing they need is to be feeling tired (and/or emotional) on these important days With a good 8 hours of rest in the tank, they can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day.

Reassure them:

It’s important to reassure your teen that you’re there for them no matter what. Part of their anxiety might be about disappointing you (even if they haven’t said so) and reminding them that you’ll support them whatever grades they get can help a lot. Telling your teen that exams aren’t everything and that the world’s their oyster whatever grades they get can help them find much-needed perspective. Finally, you can remind them if they’re unhappy with their exams, they’ll have the chance to resit them.


Whatever the result, there will always be many paths to take.  Good luck everyone!