Reducing the stress of the 11+ examinations

Reducing the stress of the 11+ examinations

The 11+ exams for independent schools are just around the corner and this might mean tension is mounting in your household. High stress levels can affect performance so it is important it is addressed and an effort is made to help! Managing these pressures can be challenging, but we feel it is vital in order for your child to have their best chance of reaching their potential. We’ve put together some great ways of trying to reduce the stress your child might be feeling as we approach these imminent exams.


Talk to your Child

Talk to your child if you think they are feeling worried and anxious about the exams. Put things into perspective and reassure them. If they know that you are not worried about them, sometimes this can help them to worry less.


Make Exam Prep Fun!

Exam preparation and revision can be tedious, laborious and downright boring so that’s where we need to try and spice things up so you don’t end up with constant nagging and pulling your hair out in the process! Here are some ways to reduce the monotony of that revision:

  • Create games to help. For example, vocabulary bingo: choose ambitious words to have on your sheet and then read the definition of a word and see if your child can locate the word that matches the definition.
  • How about creating “Who wants to be a millionaire” over dinner for re-capping key maths facts?!
  • Invite a (suitable!) friend over to work together to make exam preparation a little more fun.



 Mindfulness can be a great way to get your children to relax and take their minds away from their exams for as little as a few moments a day. There are lots of mindfulness apps for children or videos online to help them meditate.


Exercise, Eat well and Sleep!

Setting aside time to get out and about is very important. Go for a walk to get some fresh air.

Eating well is key to reducing stress levels. Eating the right foods can make you feel better and prepares you for your exam too; a heavy meal means your brain is focusing on digestion, while not eating enough will mean you do not have enough fuel for your brain!

Sleep is hugely important in helping to remember information so ensure your child is sleeping at least 8 hours a night and has an early night the day before the exam. Avoid screen-time 1-2 hours prior to going to sleep in order to maximise the potential of a good night’s sleep.


Manage your own Stress.

It’s a stressful time for parents too. Your children have been preparing for these exams for perhaps over a year now and you will be feeling the pressure to achieve a certain result and you’re not even the ones taking the exam! Stop! Take a breath and try and remain calm! You fretting about the exams will only overspill onto your children causing further angst. Your support and tolerance are crucial in reducing the stress felt upon your child.


Tips for the Day before the Exam and on the Exam Day

Being organised and prepared for the exam the day before can help to reduce anxiety. Lay out your child’s clothes, pack their bag and pencil case. Make sure they are ready to go so it’s not a last-minute panic to get things ready in the morning. Ensure they have had a good breakfast on the day of the exam and, if time, try a little meditation too. Make sure that you have read all the documents about the day itself and make sure that your child knows what to expect.