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Talk to your child about why they feel worried. Are they afraid of disappointing you or their teachers? Are they afraid of looking silly in front of their classmates?
Talk together about good ways to approach challenges. For example:
Parental love and support makes a huge difference. One research project looked at the things that shape children’s study habits. It found that parents’ attitudes to learning were a bigger influence than the child’s own attitudes.
Yes, developing exam confidence takes time and practice.
Taking an exam is a bit like taking part in a school play: it can be scary at first. But with practice, your child learns what’s needed, how to control their feelings and give their best.
Our exams for young learners are an ideal introduction to English language assessment. They are full of fun activities and there is no pass or fail – it helps children to develop their skills.
Our level-based exams help children move up the language learning ladder, one step at a time. Our research suggests that children who have taken an exam at the previous level feel more confident and have less anxiety.
Your child will feel much more prepared and confident about their exam if they know exactly what they need to do.
It’s really useful to do some practice exams. It will help your child to become more familiar and confident with the different types of tasks. Your child should be able to work their way through these with encouragement and careful guidance.
If your child is anxious about any of their English classwork, discuss it with your child’s teacher and ask them what you can work on at home.
Pre A1 Starters preparation
A1 Movers preparation
A2 Flyers preparation
A2 Key for Schools preparation
B1 Preliminary for Schools preparation
B2 First for Schools preparation
Did you know?
Parents often provide a lot of support during the exam period. A Cambridge English survey has found that over half of parents help their child prepare for their exams. Parents support their child by:
You can help your child feel prepared by finding out what happens on exam day.
Young Learners exams
What happens on exam day
Other Cambridge English Qualifications for schools
Exam-day tips for paper-based exams
Exam-day tips for computer-based exams
Exam-day tips for Speaking tests
Cambridge English Beta 360: try watching one of our tests in an immersive (virtual reality) world.
After the exam, remember to give your child praise for completing the exam (don’t just wait for the exam results).
It’s important to recognise courage to take on challenges. If praise is only about getting good results and being ‘clever’, it can make children less likely to take on challenges in the future because they don’t want to risk ‘failing’.
You can also help your child to reflect on their exam experience. Was there anything they were really pleased about or felt worried about? Developing exam confidence takes time and practice, so use this as an opportunity to think about what to do for the next time.
If your child is anxious about their exam results, discuss it with your child’s teacher and ask them what you can work on at home.
Remember, study skills and intelligence are not fixed. They can develop and change over time.
Many different research studies have all found one especially important study attitude, called ‘grit’. In the long term, people with ‘grit’ – who keep trying, working hard and developing – outperform people who have high natural ability without ‘grit’.
This way of looking at things can make exams less scary. Exam results are not a final judgement on what your child knows and what they can do. They simply reflect their skills at a certain time. If your child doesn’t get the result they want, they can keep working and developing, and over time it can all change.