Supporting kids and teens with exams and tests

24 April 2023

Throughout their lives, our children and teens will be measured, marked and tested over and over again. Spelling tests, sports days, swimming badges, music exams, SATs, GCSEs, A-levels, driving tests. The list goes on.

Some kids breeze through this, but for many it can cause anxiety, for them and often for us too. So how can we use the Key Tools to help them connect with God and lean on him in those times?

Creating windows into how you deal with stress

Create a window into how you connect with God when you’re feeling anxious or stressed by letting your child see or hear what you do. That might be texting a friend to ask them to pray for you, blasting a playlist of worship music or journaling. If they’re not around when you do it, mention it later on or share a story from your past.

Frame what the Bible says about how God sees us

One of the hard things about tests is that it can feel like the results define who they are and what they can do in the future. You can help counter this by sharing verses and stories from the Bible which show how God sees us. We are loved and valued because of what he has done for us, not because of anything we do. Remind them that we are not finished yet and are a small part of God’s big plan.

Unwind any confused views of God

A child or teenager’s view of God will affect how they relate to him in tough times. If they think he is too busy to care about the small things like their exams then they won’t share with him. Emphasise that he loves to hear whatever they want to tell him and asks us to cast all our cares (big or small) onto him.

Open up a two-way prayer conversation

Introduce them to the idea or remind them how to chat and catch. Give them ideas of things to chat to God about, like:

  • tell him the question you’re most dreading
  • share something that frustrates you about the way you are tested
  • write down three words that describe how you’re feeling.

Encourage them to ask him questions too, like:

  • Is there a Bible verse or story that you want to remind me of?
  • What does your peace and presence feels like?
  • What should I revise next?

Help them recognise the different ways that he communicates with them. Encourage them to keep that conversation going.

Support them through the ups and downs

It’s normal to have highs and lows as they face tests and exams. Spot what is working for them and how they’re connecting with God and offer them ideas and support to keep going with that. Don’t worry about the things that don’t help – ditch them and move on!

You can download discussion notes and questions here: Exams pop up small group handout


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