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ChildLine Reports Rise In Calls About Exam Stress

Counselling sessions addressing exam stress worries up by 9% and concerns over exam results up by 20%

  • ChildLine Reports Rise In Calls About Exam Stress

ChildLine, the NSPCC-run helpline for children and young people, has released a set of figures that indicate a year-on-year rise in worries about exam stress among schoolchildren.

The service dealt with 3,077 counselling sessions relating to exam stress last year – a 9% rise compared with 2014-15. The same period saw 1,127 counselling sessions in which young people spoke of concerns about their exam results, representing an increase of 20% compared with 2014/15.

According to NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless, “The exam period can be a very stressful and anxious time for young people. As these figures reveal, the pressure to do well is being felt by an increasing number of young people across the country.

“We hear from lots of young people each year who are anxious, worried or panicking about their exams and revision. We want to let them know that they are not alone and that ChildLine is here to listen to them.”

Real-world snapshots

Alongside the numbers, ChildLine has also disclosed a series of anonymised ‘snapshots’ (paraphrased summaries, if not direct transcripts) based on exchanges with users of the service, including the following:

“I can’t cope if things get any worse than this. I can’t focus on my work and I have tests coming up that I haven’t prepared for. Everything is just piling on top of me. I know that I just need to make a start, but I get too anxious to think straight, it just feels hopeless. I don’t want to fail my GCSEs. I think I need to speak to someone and get some help before its too late.”
– 16-year-old male

“I’m really worried about my grades because there is so much pressure on me to do well. Everyone expects me to get top grades in my GCSEs but I got lower grades than I expected in my mocks so I’m really scared now. I am worried that if I don’t get the best grades then I am letting everyone down. I feel like I am losing confidence in myself and I am worried what will happen when I have to take the real exams
– 15-year-old female

Points of advice

The release of the figures is accompanied by the launch of a new video on ChildLine’s YouTube channel, titled ‘6 Tips To Managing Exam Stress’, as part of an ongoing series coinciding with the school exam season.

ChildLine has also issued the following points of advice for young people in the process of sitting exams:

• Ensure that you take regular revision breaks and do some exercise
• Go to bed at a reasonable time
• Trying to get a good night’s sleep will be much more helpful than a late-night cramming session, which will just leave you feeling very tired the following day
• Think positively – even if you don’t feel like it, keeping a positive attitude will help you during your revision
• If you can, take a bottle of water into the exam hall with you, if you can – staying hydrated by drinking water will help you concentrate

ChildLine’s free confidential helpline can be contacted on 0800 1111; young people can also email the organisation’s trained counsellors and receive one-to-one online support by visiting childline.org.uk

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