Sarah Agnew from the children youth and families support team, offers six ideas for supporting young people through exams.

Tests and exams can be a large source of pressure for young people and their families. If left unsupported, exams can sometimes trigger a serious negative impact on the mental and physical health of teenagers – as they seek to establish who they are, their value and place in the world – at the same time.

Thankfully, there are many simple things we can do to help young people through exam season. Here are six ideas to get you started.


1. Pray for them, and encourage prayer for each other

Easy to overlook, hard to turn down. Be specific about how you pray for your young people during the exam season. You could ask them to share something specific, or set up a prayer space in your church where they could write down their own prayers on a wall or store in a box, allowing them to articulate how they are feeling. If you’ve got a group who know each other, you could suggest pinning their exam timetables up on a board together and seeing if you could spot opportunities to pray for each other through the weeks.


2. Share Bible passages

Offering to share encouraging Bible passages and personalised messages in the lead up to exams can help young people know that you understand what they are going through, and experience how the Bible can be a reliable source of encouragement in their daily life.

You could write or print out different encouragements on pieces of paper and give them to your young people as a physical reminder for them to hold on to (bookmark, anyone?).

Giving them their own Bible might be a bit much in this case, as they’ll be doing a fair amount of reading for revision, and you don’t want to overwhelm them with “yet another massive thing to read.”


3. Exam wellbeing packs

Putting together exam wellbeing packs can not only equip them with physical materials, it might just be what they need to boost their morale while revising. It’s another way of showing they are valued!

You could include:

  • Stationary (notebook, pen, ruler, eraser)
  • Snacks (check for dietary requirements)
  • Encouraging messages or affirmations (link them to Bible passages for extra points)
  • Curated videos to watch (e.g. “Search for ____ on Youtube” or use QR code links)
  • Upcoming things they could come to for a break
  • Suggested actions (write 5 ideas for creating tiny moments of rest)
  • A Youthscape prayer band (use 15OFF for a 15% discount through June!)


4. Encourage regular breaks

Encourage them to slow down and take breaks from studying throughout their study days. Taking breaks can improve focus and wellbeing. It’s good practice to take two breaks each morning, afternoon and evening when doing intense study.

Consider running a “study break youth session” to help boost morale and support them during exam season, where they will have space to rest, have fun and reconnect with friends. Providing a light youth session like this acknowledges you understand the importance of this exam season and the pressures they’re facing, but also emphasises the importance of maintaining work/rest balance.


5. Encourage walks

Another good ‘break’ idea is taking 15 minutes of exercise such as a brisk walk around the block or dancing around the living room – these activities release endorphins which reduce stress and increase feelings of happiness, boosting your mood and can improve your memory. Encourage young people you know to go for a walk once a day.

If you have a youth group Instagram page, you could upload a regular story or grid post, reminding young people to take an active break – much better than scrolling social media – which can become the default break activity.


6. Celebrate!

For many young people, exams are a huge mountain to overcome, so when exam season ends, take time to celebrate all their hard work! Here’s three ideas for how you might signal how much you care and champion the young people connected to you:

  • make it a feature during a Sunday service to invite young people to stand and receive an applause (give them a heads up before you do this!)
  • host an “end of term/exams” party
  • send a “well done” postcard


Hopefully, these ideas have got you thinking more about practical ways to support young people through exam season. Feel free to get in touch with any other ideas you have seen implemented – it’d be great to hear from you! Email us at or find out more about the Children & Youth team.