Examinations are here again. Kids, teachers and parents are busy with revisions and other last minute preparations to ensure success in the various exams -in fact the pressure is on! From the regular school exams to the big common entrance examinations and for some in secondary it’s the big finals. Kids often have to deal with examination pressure and it is not usually because they are not prepared for these exams but because a lot is expected of them from us parents, from peers and from their schools too.

I spoke with my child in boarding school over the last weekend and the same thing happened during our conversation. As a typical Nigerian mum who is all about the grades, I started to mount pressure unconsciously.  I had to stop myself when I noticed that I was only asking how prepared he was for his tests or if he was sure he had done this or studied that. I realised I was ignoring all the interesting gist he was dishing out and was focused only on his exams so I had to control myself. (LOL)


Sometimes parents (mostly of older kids) are even more anxious about their kids’ exams than the kids themselves are. They get so stressed out that they transfer the anxiety to the kids and this does not help the kids in any way.

To help ease the tension here are 5 tips I find useful:

Avoid last minute preparations:

It is important to start preparing for exams ahead of time. Kids should be encouraged to study regularly to avoid last minute rush and examination tension. Studying frequently helps the child establish confidence and makes them ready for any exam.

Work on practice questions:

Use practice questions to help your child get familiar with the kind of questions to expect and also to guide them on the how best to answer the questions. They could be past questions on a subject or questions compiled by teachers to prepare the kids for examination.

Review topics and discuss problem areas:

It is a good idea to run through different topics covered on a particular subject. However you may not have the time to do this with your kids. If that is the case you can simply ask them to write out topics they are not comfortable with so that you can have discussions with them on those topics. Where you may not have the time to do this with your child, or you feel that the teacher would need to handle it, you should speak with the teacher about it. Most times teachers love to help especially when asked nicely.

Know your child’s capacity:

Sometimes knowing your child’s capacity can help a great deal, it makes you know what to expect and not apply unnecessary pressure. For instance you will not think that a child is being lazy just because he says he needs to rest for a while if you already knew that that child cannot study for too many hours at a time.  Knowing also helps you avoid comparing your child to a sibling or any other child. Parents tend to compare kids to spur a competitive spirit in them but rather than make them feel competitive, the kids may get discouraged and feel that their efforts are not appreciated.  Encourage your child to perform to the best of his or her ability for the purpose of the examination.  When the exams are over and there is a need to help your child do better, work out a plan and follow it through diligently to achieve great results


Encourage them and boost their confidence:

Kids tend to do better when they are encouraged, so boost your child’s confidence by telling him how much you believe in him or by speaking positive words of affirmation to them.


Remember that behind every child who believes in herself or himself is a parent who first believed in them, so be a support system for your child. Give that child a hug and a kiss and say, ‘(name), I appreciate how hard you have prepared for these exams and I am proud of you.  I know you’re going to do a great job’.