Ways To Start A Conversation With Your Child During Exam Time

Are you worried your child might be stressed about his exams? Wondering how to reach out to him? Well, these conversation starters, for the different phases of the exam season might just help!

By Arundhati Swamy

Ways To Start A Conversation With Your Child During Exam Time

Exams can be stressful for your child. Having conversations with your child before and after an exam can help reduce the stress. You will need to open your conversations with statements or questions that help him in three important ways: become aware of all that is going on in his mind about the exams, appreciate and put his strengths to use and to examine his own attitude and approach to the exams. All of these can help him plan and prepare to perform well in the exams.

Sharing some of the ups and downs you experienced as a student will encourage your child to share his own thoughts and emotions, especially the worry, fear and doubts that take away his confidence. You will be able to genuinely empathise with his struggles and challenges, simply because you had similar experiences yourself.

Your child will feel at ease when the conversations after an exam help him see what went right during an exam. He is then more open to learning from the gaps and mistakes.

Further, do remember to round off your conversations with a warm gesture or with words that reassure your child that you will always love him, even if the results are not what you hoped for.

So, to get you going, ParentCircle is here to help you with some simple conversation starters… 

Making your child think about his exams...

1. What does the word ‘exams’ mean to you?

2. Tell me what your teachers say about exams…

3. Do you think exams are necessary?

4. What if there were no exams…

5. Is there something worrying you about the exam?

6. You seem to be tired. Would you like to take a break?

7. Would you like to make a plan or a schedule for exam preparation?

8. You look unhappy about the exam you took…

9. How do you feel about your revisions?

10. What do you tell yourself when you want to do well?

11. How do you feel about your preparation for the exams?

12. How do you feel just before you get your report card?

13. You were very confident for the term exams. Do you know why?

14. If you feel tense when you see your question paper, how can you handle it?

15. How do you feel after you finish learning a difficult chapter?

16. How do you feel when you learn a new and challenging topic?

17. How much marks do you want to get in this subject? How do you plan to get it?

18. Which subject are you finding hard? How do you plan to study it? What kind of help do you need?

19. Which chapter/concept are you finding difficult? How much extra time do you need to study this? Do you need some extra help?

20. You seem nervous/anxious…

21. You seem confident…

22. What snacks/drinks can I get you while you are studying?

23. Would you like me to help you plan a timetable for studying your different subjects and taking breaks?

24. I know it is sometimes hard to focus and study all the time…

25. How can I help you with your exam prep?


Talking about your experience, thus showing empathy...

26. Let me tell you about one of my exams…

27. I remember being afraid of the exams…

28. Guess what happened during one of my exams…

29. Once when I was writing an exam…

30. I forgot to take my compass box for the exam…

31. Once when I reached school I found out that I had studied for a different subject…

32. There was this one teacher who…

33. During exams my friends and I would…

34. When a lesson was difficult I used to…

35. During exams I would…

36. When I got poor marks I would…

37. When I got good marks I would…

38. When I could not remember an answer I would…

39. I liked it when my parents…

40. I didn’t like it when my parents…

41. Guess what I liked about exams…

42. Before going to bed I would…

43. On the morning of the exam I would…

44. One thing I hated about exams…

45. When someone got more marks than me I felt…

46. I would get confused when…

47. I felt very disappointed with my results…

48. One lesson that I learnt when I failed is…

49. There was this one time when I worked extra hard…

50. Before the exams my friends and I would…


After each exam...

1. One exam done… Only 3 more to go…

2. You seem happy…

3. You seem disappointed…

4. This exam is done... Don’t worry about the resultshow you did. Time to focus on the next exam.

5. Would you like to talk about how you did?

6. So, it was an easy exam? All the effort you put in has paid off…

7. You found it difficult? I can see you are upset…

8. What did your classmates say after the exam?It doesn’t matter how your classmates did. It is not necessary to discuss your paper with them.

9. What went well for you in the exam?

10. What did you do when you got stuck with the answer?

11. Did you have time to go over your answers?

12. What did it feel like when your classmates said it was an easy paper?

13. Why do you think many classmates found the paper difficult?

14. You met your teacher after the exam? What did she say?

15. If you couldn’t finish the paper on time, let’s see how you can, for tomorrow’s exam…

16. Did anything distract you during the exam…

17. You’re angry about the question paper. Would you like to talk about it?

18. Looks like you need a good break…what would you like to do?

19. Were the tips to handle nervousness helpful?

20. Did any classmate ask you for an answer during the exam?

21. Are you satisfied with the way you answered the paper?

22. You look excited…

23. Was the new exam classroom comfortable?

24. Did the deep breathing help you today?

25. You must be hungry…

26. Tell me how you managed your time today…

About the author:

Written by Arundhati Swamy on 17 February 2020. 

Arundhati Swamy is a family and child counsellor, and Head of the Parent Engagement Program at ParentCircle. 

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