Supporting your child through exam season - Bangkok Prep

Supporting your child through exam season

Supporting teenagers through their schooling is challenging at the best of times. Add a stressful period of examinations to the mixer and emotions can run high. The term ‘treading on eggshells’ can often be applied in most households.

This article explores a few ways in which you can support your children through an exam season. Please kindly note that there isn’t a magic wand with this and there is certainly no magic recipe. These are just some considerations for you and your children to work through. Keep up the passions and hobbies!

Some might argue this is a controversial starter. Students probably would say the same too but all research literature concludes that we should continue doing the things we love in times of ‘hardship’ or ‘stress’. Firstly, stress and challenge are absolutely needed and necessary in life, but we need the things we enjoy in our lives to keep us going and remain balanced when things become tougher than the ‘norm’.

Research and experience teach us that having balance in our lives, ensures we remain in a stable state of mood, we are refreshed and recharged for the challenges ahead and have the motivation to work in that all important state of flow for longer periods of time to maximise our effectiveness.

Sport and exercise during exams – A study commissioned by the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference in the UK, discovered that taking part in competitive sports during GCSE and A-Level exam periods has no negative effects on teenagers’ grades. The study’s organiser, Professor Peter Clough at Huddersfield University’s Psychology department, who analysed the GCSE results of 1,482 students from 19 schools, clarified: “Overall, taking part in sport appears to have a lot of positive impact.” He claims that, “taking part in sport on a regular basis is not doing [school pupils] any harm and it is doing them good.” According to the Telegraph, Professor Clough’s study has found “a significant relationship between involvement in sport and mental toughness” with the “super performers” – students with top academic results – playing “a lot of sport as well as achieving the highest grades in their class.”


Moreover, according to experts at Birmingham University, sport improves academic performance in a range of indirect ways, too.


  1. It produces endorphins and serotonin that reduce stress levels.
  2. It boosts general energy levels, which makes it easier to concentrate during revision.
  3. It helps regulate sleeping patterns.
  4. It improves clarity of thought as training can help the mind meditate on difficult concepts.


In short, as long as students maintain good time management practices, their sports activities can actually improve their exam performance. Reframing the language slightly

– How we say and ask things can often be perceived by young people very differently. Especially if they are experiencing some hormonal challenges at that particular time. A simple supportive question such as ‘…are you sticking to your revision schedule?’ can often cause young people to become defensive and a sense of intrusiveness appears out of nowhere. If we change the semantics slightly and put a supportive spin on our so-called ‘intrusiveness’, research will tell us it can go a long way. Asking if you can support with planning the revision schedule or ‘is there anything we can do to best support your revision schedule’ should open more doors for your child to be further willing to share information.

Share the accountability load – Another way to support your child’s revision schedule and time management is to ask if you could have a copy of the schedule or better still, ask whether it could be displayed in common area in the house. That way everyone is being accountable for the revision schedule to be followed and adhered to. I must make a point here though and it’s imperative that self-care practices, breaks, exercise and downtime need to be included in the schedule. Why not try to factor in some family time into the schedule as well? Please do remember that it’s your child’s revisions schedule and they should be the designers, implementers and reviewers of its success. You are there as a supportive figure who is on their side.

We pride ourselves at Bangkok Prep for not enforcing a ‘heads down policy’ during exam seasons and important deadline periods as we feel strongly that students need to be keeping up with their ‘non-academic’ commitments. We also feel that it is teaching them essential life skills, being able to juggle various commitments, even during important exam sessions. Of course, in a school setting there are exceptions to this rule, especially for those students who need extra support in the run up to their exams or who have missed periods of their education.

The overwhelming message (from this article) is that we should be encouraging the students of Bangkok Prep to engage in self-care practices during exams or periods of high workload. This includes sports fixtures, music concerts, family meals, social events with friends and after school commitments. They need these activities to remain recharged, balanced and to perform at their personal best. Using COVID as a lesson and with everything that has happened over the last three years, it has surely made us all realise that looking after both our physical and mental health is priority number one.

Lastly, our students won’t perform to their best of their abilities during testing periods or examinations if they are burnt out. A revision schedule without periods of rest, exercise, healthy dieting and sufficient sleep will cause burn out and in turn result in a drop in performance levels. In a School that prides itself on academic excellence and holistic education, we should never neglect the things we love doing to achieve our goals. In fact, they should be a key component to our success.

Stephen Hurworth is currently Deputy Head Teacher of Secondary at Bangkok Prep. Before joining us this academic year he spent seven years at Dulwich College Beijing where for the last four years, he was Assistant Head of the Senior School. Stephen also held leadership responsibilities at DCB as Head of Department, Head of Year and Head of Football. His first international post was at Heathfield International School in Bangkok where he was Head of Key Stage 3, Head of PE and Examinations Officer.


Our Campus


BANGKOK, 10110

77 สุขุมวิท 77 วัฒนา
กรุงเทพมหานคร 10110