11/05/2016 07:00 BST

Childline Reports Increase In Calls During Exam Season, As Young People Face Pressure To Perform

'I feel really scared.'


Young people are increasingly seeking help and advice in coping with examstress, new figures from Childline reveal.

The NSPCC-run helpline delivered 3,077 counselling sessions about exam stress to young people in 2015, a rise of nine per cent on the previous year.

Almost a quarter of these sessions took place in May, as pressures mount ahead of exam season.

damircudic via Getty Images
Almost a quarter of this counselling took place in May as pressures mount ahead of exam season

The charity said concerns about exam results also featured in 1,127 counselling sessions, an increase of 20%.

A quarter of these took place in August when many teenagers are anxiously awaiting GCSE and A-Level grades.

Childline has released anonymised snapshots of the cases its callers handled last year. 

I can’t cope if things get any worse than this16-year-old male

"I can’t cope if things get any worse than this. I can’t focus on my work and I have tests coming up that I haven’t prepared for. Everything is just piling on top of me," said one 16-year-old caller told the service.

I am not sure what to do and I feel really scared17-year-old female

While a 17-year-old said: "Everyone else in my class seems to be coping with the stress. I am not sure what to do and I feel really scared and anxious about it."

If I have already failed then what is the point of carrying on?16-year-old female

"I hate exams, I have done half of my A Level exams so far and I don’t think I will get the grades I was predicted. If I have already failed then what is the point of carrying on?" another 16-year-old said.

Everyone expects me to get top grades in my GCSEs but I got lower grades than I expected15-year-old male

A 15-year-old said: "I’m really worried about my grades because there is so much pressure on me to do well. Everyone expects me to get top grades in my GCSEs but I got lower grades than I expected in my mocks so I’m really scared now."

Top tips for easing exam stress

  • Make sure you take regular breaks from revising and do some exercise
  • Go to bed at a reasonable time and try and get some sleep
  • Getting a good night’s sleep will help you much more than trying to revise all night you will just end up very tired the next day
  • Try to think positively – even if you don’t feel like it, a positive attitude will help you during your revision
  • Take some water into the test with you, if you can. Keeping hydrated by drinking water will help you concentrate.

Stresses about exams can affect young people’s ability to sleep, trigger anxiety attacks, depression and tearfulness, and eating disorders.

In some cases it can also lead to self-harm and suicidal feelings, or make them worse.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said: "The exam period can be a very stressful and anxious time for young people. 

"As these figures reveal, the pressure to do well is being felt by an increasing number of young people across the country.

"We hear from lots of young people each year who are anxious, worried or panicking about their exams and revision.

"We want to let them know that they are not alone and that ChildLine is here to listen to them."

Children and young people can contact ChildLine 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0800 1111 and at


Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: