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How to manage exam pressure and your family monsters

13 June 2019

We caught up with a group of young carers recently who shared with us their insight into juggling exam pressures whilst caring for loved ones too.

Students and schoolchildren all over the country are currently busy revising for their summer exams. It can be very stressful for all of them, but for a young person who is also a young carer this time can be even more difficult. Fitting in revision around caring for a family member can be challenging. We spoke to some of the young carers we support to find out what challenges they face and what helps them.

All the young people we spoke to admitted that being a carer added more pressure to exam time and the main difficulty was not having enough time to revise. Also they have to use any spare time they might have to revise and prepare for exams – time that other young people would be able to use to step away from their books and recharge their batteries.

One young person told us they found it difficult to find time for huge amounts of extra homework and being given short deadlines added to the pressure. They also found it difficult to focus. Another challenge was not having somewhere suitable at home where they could concentrate on studying.

“Don’t be shy about letting your teachers know you are struggling and asking them for extra support”

The young people also shared some tips and advice that has helped them. They said that making sure the school was aware of their situation was essential. Don’t be shy about letting your teachers know you are struggling and asking them for extra support including ways of revision that are best suited to your situation.
Tell them about any difficulties you have about revising at home and ask them if you can have a space to study in at school. Join study groups or try to revise with friends doing the same subjects as yourself. Also ask your teachers to give you as much notice as possible regarding deadlines. The young carers also said It is very important to organise your time properly and have a ‘revision routine’.

Lastly, they said to allow those closest to you to help you as they do understand what you are going through.
Natasha Wake, who supports young people at Family Action’s Durham Young Carer’s Support Service. The Bridge also gave some top tips for managing revision and exams.

  • Plan revision well in advance of exams and ask school about providing a quiet space for studying in between exams if it is difficult to study at home.
  • Speak to practitioners about helping you put support in place prior to exams, such as enlisting extra support from friends and relatives short term. Get them to help you produce a study timetable
  • Make sure you have time to relax and switch off from studying and caring, and are getting enough sleep. Take a walk and get fresh air in between exams.
  • Get friends to help you study; ask each other questions and try to make it more fun.

All families face monsters at some point. Watch and share our film so we can all talk about and face them together #MyFamilyMonsters www.familymonstersproject.com.