How to … support children and young people during exam time

Tirzah L Jones

When I was in my late teenage years there was an elderly man in our congregation who was incredibly faithful in praying for those going through exams.

Around April he would start asking for your exam timetable, he would then come and
speak to you before an exam, always telling you

‘he would be there with you in each exam’

something which whilst causing amusement amongst us teenagers was always greatly appreciated.

In May the ‘Let our Kids be Kids’ campaign was protesting against primary school sats. Exams affect our children and young people at all ages. How can we be a support to them?

  1. Good results are not everything. Whilst not undermining parent’s efforts to get their children to revise, we must remind them that in God’s eyes they are already valuable and exam results do not affect how God views them. If they do badly in their exams they may have to rethink their path in life but it doesn’t mean that life is over. Let them know that whatever happens you will be there for them to support them and love them.
  2. Look out for other symptoms. Keep an eye open for other problems triggered by exam stress such as eating disorders etc.
  3. Don’t give up on Church. Encourage them to take one day off a week from the
    revision. Skipping church is not going to give them better grades. Taking a break is good for them in so many ways.
  4. Don’t abandon your quiet times. There is always going to be something that is
    pressuring your young people, and giving up on personal time with God is not the answer to dealing with that.
  5. Pray with them and for them. Children and young people react in different ways to exams, some sail through with no obvious stresses, but what is on the surface does not always reflect what is going on underneath. The noisy ones are not the only ones who need your prayers.
  6. Ask them, as mentioned in my introduction, how an exam went and
    remembering them beforehand is worth its weight in gold, and is something that will be remembered many years later.