Help Ease Teens’ Anxiety about Exams


The end of the school year is a busy time for students of all ages. In the elementary grades, there are field days, school trips, outings and sometimes even outdoor classes. In high school, though, the pressure is on for senior students who are hoping to attend post-secondary school in the fall.

While they might have already received acceptance letters for a particular program and campus, they probably need to maintain a certain academic standing to ensure graduation to that next level is a done deal. Marks matter.

On the other hand, there is less emphasis on exams than in decades gone by. Final evaluation typically includes culminating performance tasks (CPTs) or summative assessments, such as projects, in-class assignments and/or presentations. Your youngster is shooting a video for science or preparing a recipe and a speech for history? That might be past of the process. Ask.

Regardless, in the second half of June, kids across town will be hitting the books and getting set for lengthy, official tests of their knowledge in different subject areas.

And some kids get pretty anxious about it. If your teen tends to get stressed about school, there are things you can do to help relieve some of the apprehension.

Talk about it. Discuss ideas and strategies to manage time and studying.

If your son or daughter is confused about a certain concept or part of a lesson, encourage him or her to get clarification from the teacher. Self advocacy is an important life skill.

Set limits. Establish a specific curfew and expectations for the pre-exam period. For instance, your teen can stay at home—no going out—on days prior to exams.

Establish quiet study space and designate it smartphone-free.

Encourage an earlier bedtime and healthy sleep routine.

Serve nutritious meals and provide healthy snacks, such as almonds, yogurt, fruits and vegetables, wholegrain crackers and cheese.

Tell your kid to take a break every so often.

Talk positively. Instill confidence by pointing out past successes.

Support your youngster to get help, if needed.

The Ottawa Public Library invites teens to visit any branch during Teen Exam Cram, which takes place Wednesday, June 15, until Monday, June 27. The library understands how stressful this time can be for teens as they complete projects and prepare for final exams. Employees will be happy to help and teens caught studying may even be rewarded with a treat.

Parents can find more advice and teens can find study tips at these websites:;

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