Thousands of young people are flooding back to school, college and university this September, but is the pressure of exam success causing them too much stress, and from this failure.

Myself and my sister received our results this summer, my sister for her GCSEs and I for my AS levels. My sister did amazingly well and passed all of her exams with flying colours. On the other hand you have me; I got a Distinction in BTEC sport, a C in drama and D’s in both Maths and English. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t too happy with those…

I was so disappointed; yes I had passed but they weren’t up to the high standards of my GCSEs. This got me thinking about all the pressure that the demands of parents, teachers and society creates; the constant thought that if you don’t do well (in my case) there will be an abundance of disappointment waiting at the front door. The pressure we put students under from 18 down is ridiculous, I felt so stressed that my hair was falling out of my head! How can we push children to limits such as this?

Some people around the world are putting pressure on four-year-olds to go to school, be at the top of the class. But you’re asking too much. Even people my age they say that ‘if I don’t pass their exams, my parents will kick me out’ and they mean it. You cannot expect to put so much pressure and stress on a person and not think that they will get overwhelmed. When overwhelmed, a child isn’t able to concentrate or focus on their own personal goals, on their own work and achieving the best that they can, not the best their parents want. This pressure causes the child to underperform and in the end the stress and pressure means that they fail.

The parents of today don’t fully understand what they’re doing to their children, they don’t understand that although they mean well, their pressure can cause their children’s failure. Just because you fail an exam, it doesn’t mean that the life you want is over, there are always other options that you need to consider. Below I’ve given a few tips for revision and exams, and remember failing at school doesn’t always mean that you can’t do what you want to do in the future.

My recommended techniques for relieving pressure are:

  • PARENTS – ensure that the child eats and drinks regularly, fluids and food can give energy to a tired student, and by keeping hydrated you can keep your concentration for longer.
  • SLEEP – sleeping well at night is vital; if you are tired your brain doesn’t want to work as hard, meaning that you won’t get as much done as you need.
  • INTERVALS – revising in intervals will make you feel more refreshed and means that you can revise for a longer period of time; it is better doing six 30 minute sessions with 5 minute gaps rather than three hours straight revision.