Craig David and Tinie Tempah share exam stress tips as survey reveals effect studying has on teenagers

Students tell poll about changes in their behaviour, physical and mental health, or appearance as exams draw near

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The Independent Online

A host of famous faces have thrown their support behind a youth empowerment programme video to give students their top tips on beating exam stress this summer.

Singer Tinie Tempah has cautioned teenagers on the importance of preparation, while DJ and radio presenter Lilah Parsons advises the need for early nights.

Singer Craig David and English deep house duo, Blonde, are also among the well-known figures to help young students out in the run up to the exam period.

The video has come on the day a new study by the National Citizen Service (NCS) reveals the extent to which revision-related stress affects British teenagers.

With the exam period just weeks away, the NCS polled 1,000 young students - aged 15 to 18 - to find almost 80 per cent are seeing changes in their behaviour, physical and mental health, or appearance as their assessments draw near.

While ten per cent reported eating more or less than usual, another ten per cent said they don’t having time to shower or change their clothes in between revising.

Almost 20 per cent said they don’t leave the house for days, with seven per cent saying stress leaves them sitting alone in the dark in angst, while almost 40 per cent reported sometimes showing signs of anger.

Janey Downshire, specialist in teenage development with support site, Teenagers Translated, described how, for parents, witnessing concerning changes occur can be difficult and “very hard” for them not to jump in and get involved.

However, reaching out to parents, she said: “While it’s important to keep an eye on any dramatic changes in appetite, sleep patterns and behaviours, sometimes being overly anxious ourselves can inflame the situation even further.”

Her comments have come as the survey also revealed how most teens say the best thing parents can do to help is to try not to strike up conversations when they are busy, instead, leaving them alone until they’re ready to talk (56 per cent).

Top 10 worst things parents could say or do during revision period:

  1. “Shouldn’t you be revising?” (52 per cent)
  2. “Just do your best” (34 per cent)
  3. “Can you really think with that music on?” (27 per cent)
  4. “How can you work with all those screens on?” (23 per cent)
  5. “If you’ve put in the time, you’ll be okay” (19 per cent)
  6. Confiscate your mobile phone (19 per cent)
  7. “Exams are so much easier these days” (15 per cent)
  8. “Is that YouTuber really helping with your revision” (13 per cent)
  9. Pretending to know more than they actually do (10 per cent)
  10. Micromanaging your revision calendar (9 per cent)

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The study also looked at respondents’ varied procrastination methods, with the average teen concentrating on revision for just 38 minutes before becoming distracted.

While the Internet is both a distraction and procrastination tool, NCS said teens are expected to spend an additional 43 hours on social media sites during a six-week revision period.

Natasha Kizzie, head of marketing at NCS Trust said: “It’s important for students to have positive goals, so we’d encourage parents to help ensure young people have something to look forward to when the exam period is all over.”