How to escape exam stress?

Primary school children should be learning to love school, not stressed out by tests.

Today’s pressurised system of testing can cause children worry at a time when they’re supposed to be learning to love school. Instead young students are increasingly fearing failure due to an endless stream of testing, or preparation for tests such as the 11+.

Standardised tests which require students to revise specific subjects for an exam, are unquestionable sources of stress. Being assessed in such a formal manner at a young age places a huge amount of pressure on students and stifles their natural curiosity to learn.

How can you escape the exam rat race?

Removing standardised tests from schools allows students, parents and teachers to escape the exam rat race, league tables and the competitive nature of the classroom.

At ACS Hillingdon, for example, we use MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) testing in lower school to monitor student progress. Taken on a computer each year, these ‘smart’ tests ask and adjust questions based on the student’s ability – making the tests different for every child.

Standardised testing pressures teachers into meeting ‘essential’ targets, ‘pupils must read by this age’, ‘spell their name by this age’, which means as soon as a child walks into a classroom they must practise these skills while being closely monitored.

Escaping exam stress completely

Due to the nature of MAP testing, with no set time limit and tailored questions, students can’t revise for it. All we suggest to parents is that they try and help their children get a decent night’s sleep beforehand and a good breakfast to set them up for the day.

At ACS International Schools students are not only measured on their academic progress but also against our school learning outcomes. We want all students to develop as confident, caring individuals and effective learners.

And surely promoting positive personal development, fostering a curious mind and nurturing a child’s well-being is what primary education is all about?

ACS Hillingdon International School is a co-ed day school for ages 4 – 18, situated in 11 acres of green space less than 14 miles from central London.


This is sponsored post by ACS International School, please check their website for more information. Do not miss their open mornings.