6 ways to ease 11+ exam stress to boost results

As primary school pupils up and down the country get ready for the long-awaited summer break, some will be planning ahead to the 11+ exam they’ll be sitting to secure a place at grammar school. But with more children aware of the importance of the exam they’ll be sitting, it’s critical that steps are taken to ease exam stress.

There are lots of reasons to consider ways to cut down the stress. Firstly, it’s vital to a child’s wellbeing and it can have a negative effect on the results they achieve. With so much worrying, it’s possible that a child won’t perform to their best if they’re feeling stressed and under pressure. In fact, one grammar school head has even gone as far as to say that private tuition can have an adverse effect because pupils feel more ‘anxious and nervous’ leading to them underperforming.

So, while it’s important to maintain some form of revision over the summer holidays with most 11+ exams taking place early on in year 6, taking steps to ease exam stress should be factored in too. If you’re worried about the way your child is feeling about the 11+, give these six steps a try:

  1. Remember to schedule in breaks – A revision timetable is a great way to ensure your child sticks to a schedule rather than cramming. However, breaks are important, helping to unwind and boost the ability to retain information, so schedule these in too.
  2. Plan group or supported studying – Studying alone all the time can get dull and cause pressure to mount up, especially if they’re having trouble with a particular topic. Plan some time where you study with them and, if they have friends who will also be sitting the exam, why not set-up a group revision session?
  3. Maintain a healthy lifestyle – A healthy lifestyle is always important for children and it can help reduce stress levels. Make sure they’re eating a balanced diet with healthy revision snacks on hand, are getting a good night’s sleep, and are doing some exercise throughout the day.
  4. Talk about exam stress – Talking about a problem can make it seem much smaller. If you spot the signs of stress in your child, sitting them down for a chat can really help and gives you an opportunity to put the exam into perspective.
  5. Create a dedicated revision space – A revision space not only means your child will be able to concentrate during their exam preparations, it also means they’re able to walk away at the end of a revision session and focus on other things.
  6. Give them something to look forward to – Planning days out, treats at home, or even a gift can help make all that revision seem worthwhile. Looking forward to something can make exam stress seem more temporary and boost their focus as they power through.

If you’re looking for resources to support 11+ revision, we have just what you’re looking for. Our practice papers let your child get used to exam conditions, while the accompanying resources use accessible videos to explain how to get top marks.