Three ways to prepare them

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Stressed-out children are often sent to Professor Stephen Palmer, who runs a stress clinic. He advises parents to:

1. Build their children's confidence by being constantly supportive, even when they think they may not be high achievers, and avoid words like 'stupid'.
2. Encourage revision by explaining that you also feel like putting off difficult jobs at times but it's more satisfying to get down to it. And tell them that they won't have revision to do for much longer.
3. Discourage them from talking too much to their friends before an exam as this might wind them up.

Do we push too hard?

'Yes,' says Professor of Psychology, Cary Cooper. 'Parents with lower-paid jobs are sometimes the worst because they desperately want their children to have a better start in life. Schools also put unreal pressure on kids because they want to look good in league tables.'

So what should we do?

'Stop thinking that exams are all-important,' says Professor Cooper. 'If they fail, there are other options. One of my daughters did badly in her A-levels but, instead of resitting, did an HND, which boosted her confidence and got her into university. Just treat exams as a normal part of the school year and try not to pass on your own childhood fear of them.'

Continued below...

More help and advice

- Self-help techniques for teens 

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  1. 1. Top tips for coping with exams
  1. 2. Three ways to prepare them

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