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Parents underestimate exam pressure on their children’s mental health – Quizlet survey reveals

TV’s The Doctor Will See You Now, Dr. Amir Khan calls on parents and teachers to help students get their brains in ‘’exam-ready’’ condition ahead of the expectations that mock-exams and exams can bring

Quizlet, the world’s biggest global learning platform used by over 300,000 university students and 70,000 teachers in the UK, recently conducted a survey with YouGov that revealed a shocking disconnect between parents and students when it comes to exams and student mental health. When YouGov asked if exams had a negative effect on students’ mental health, only 40% of parents agreed with this statement. But, alarmingly, 89% of students said that the effects of exams had a substantial negative impact on their mental health. 

Dr. Amir Khan, NHS Doctor on Good Morning Britain and Lorraine, has long campaigned for positive mental health awareness and is now helping parents of exam students with a checklist to bring to light the particular pressures that students feel at this time of year, which Quizlet is calling ‘examiety’ (exam anxiety).

“The YouGov survey reveals a concerning gap of awareness in parents and carers of how exam choices are affecting the mental health of their children. There are all sorts of pressures on young people today, especially post-Covid when some students have lost practice or are even sitting important exams for the first time. Parents can help them recognise signs of stress and anxiety and  provide practical help to alleviate stress and aid revision.” said Dr Amir.

The November 2022 YouGov survey asked 2,076 students and adults in the UK about their concerns for students’ mental health while studying.

“There are tools for parents and carers that will help children to be mentally prepared, with their brains in tip-top condition for the coming exams. Quizlet, for example, is a great and globally accessible app that simplifies and gamifies learning through the use of flash cards. It’s a brilliant way of taking the pressure out of learning. I have also created a checklist of more tools and tips that can give parents useful guidance to start the conversation and hopefully help avert any mental health crises.”

Jenna Anderson, graduate student of the University of Glasgow, says

“ Quizlet helped to break down complex legal concepts and cases into bitesize revision flashcards, which I could tailor specifically to my course. It was truly an essential study partner that impacted my overall learning and mindset during this time.”

Dr. Amir has come up with 5 Top Tips to help parents to keep their young students’ brains in optimal condition.  

Dr Amir’s Top Tips for Parents

  1. Look out for signs of stress & be open to talking about nerves

Watch out for signs such as being more irritable than usual, headaches and stomach pains, not sleeping well, loss of interest in food or eating more than usual, as well as not enjoying activities they previously enjoyed. 

If you do notice these signs, it’s important to encourage them to talk about their feelings. Remind them that it’s normal to feel anxious, and nervousness is a natural reaction to exams. The key is to transform nerves into positive use. You should encourage them to think about what they already know and value the time they’ve already put into studying to help them feel more confident.

  1.  Provide the right resources to help them learn

Often young people will be left to their own devices to get on with their individual study, however parents can provide or guide them with the right resources which might just help their study time become that little bit easier. Quizlet, an online digital educational platform hosts many methods which improve learning and help you become a genius at whatever you’re studying. From digital flashcards, past exams, online mock tests, and a roster of different games, Quizlet provides the best study tools available at your fingertips. 

Even help your child to learn with Quizlet’s digital flashcards, or create your own, and get involved in their study sessions. They will appreciate the helping hand, and you will feel more involved on their journey. 

  1. Encourage exercise 

Exercise is one of the best instant stress relievers you could possibly do. Exercise can help boost energy levels, clear your mind and minimise any feelings of stress or anxiety. This does not mean that you have to be going for a run or in the gym everyday; simply walking the dog, doing at home workouts or playing football all contribute to getting your body moving and feeling more energised. Encourage your child to step away from their desk every now and then; even go out for a walk with them and talk about their day. This will be a great time for you to assure them that they are doing a great job, all whilst getting them moving. 

  1. Promote good sleep 

Stress levels can increase when your usual hours of sleep are decreased. Making sleep a priority and encouraging a good night’s sleep for your child will ensure they wake up well rested and refreshed. Try to encourage them to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. This will help to set their body’s internal clock and optimise the best quality of their sleep.

We all know that young people are hooked on their phones, laptops and other devices. But it’s important to encourage them to wind down before they go to bed, and turn off all devices an hour before it’s time to sleep. This allows the body to get into sleeping mode, making it easier for us to drift off into a good night’s sleep.

  1. Prioritise down time

As a parent, it is important to arrange some downtime for your child in between their exams so they can fully recharge before the next test. Encourage them to do something they enjoy, ideally away from a screen. Time away from the books will do them the world of good, and they will appreciate you more rather than forcing them to study without a proper rest. Finding the balance is crucial: encouraging them to do their best and knowing when to reward their efforts with a well deserved break. 

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