How we’re helping teachers deal with mounting student anxiety around exams

By Tim Bradbury posted 16-05-2022 10:32


With the first in-person GCSE and A level exams for two years upon us, we’ve got a package of support to help teachers manage students’ anxiety at this always challenging time.

The huge disruption which Covid has brought to education has been starkly illustrated by the fact that many of this year’s A level students will never have sat an exam before. This Guardian article reported how teachers are spotting high levels of anxiety among GCSE and A level students.

We’re giving teachers free support at this time with webinars, CPD and resources full of strategies and ideas. We’re doing everything we can to ensure teachers and technicians are equipped with the tools to help learners through the next few tough weeks.

Firstly, we put the STEM Spotlight on this very subject recently live on Community. Former secondary school STEM teacher Rob Butler, who’s now with the ASE, presented a host of strategies for managing students’ anxiety before, during and after exams. He covered AQA recommendations, mock exams, revision, results day, next steps and more – every aspect of guiding students through exams. Watch it here. For a flavour of the session, watch this bitesized clip:

You’ll also find news and blogs relevant to you – including a blog from the EEF which focuses on building study habits and revision routines. Louise Astbury, Director of Professional Development for the Pinnacle Learning Trust, outlines ways of teaching students to manage their revision repertoire (even if they’ve left everything until the last minute), provides evidence-informed practical strategies for the days and weeks leading up to exams plus links to further handy reading too. There’s also a useful discussion thread arising from this blog in the Careers, Club & Cross-Curricular group.

We also have bursary supported CPD available which is linked to student assessment. The leading assessment, moderation and tracking in primary science course is ideal for teachers who want to familiarise themselves with the current expectations around assessment and children’s progress in science. Also, assessment and progression in primary science looks at AfL strategies to promote children’s learning, and will help participants acquire a deeper understanding of progression. These are both residential courses available at our National STEM Learning Centre in York.

You will also find mock exam papers, strategies and ideas in our free resource database. If you’ve never checked these out before, dive in – we’ve got thousands of ideas which will help you plan lessons, engage with young people in STEM…and save you time too!

Another Guardian article has provided seven key pieces of advice for parents and carers on this very subject – and an FE News blog gave tips directly to students. Keep an eye on the News pages of Community for more topical and useful content.

We’d love to hear how you’re helping your students with exams (and everything else) this summer term – we’re always looking for case studies and blog content, and we’ll feature your submissions to our tens of thousands of social media followers too! Drop us a line

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