Talking about Exam Stress
A top psychologist, Dr Evan Gartner, is taking part in an interview for a psychology
magazine. This month’s topic is stress in childhood and adolescence...
Interviewer: Hello, Dr Gartner. I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to discuss a very
prominent and widely debated topic with you today which is stress in childhood and
adolescence. Nowadays, children and teenagers have to cope with the pressure of sitting
many exams throughout their education – is this the main cause of their stress?
Dr Gartner: Yes - it’s one of the main causes. The pressure to do well in exams can be very
overwhelming for children and young people. For many of them, exam stress is a heavy
burden on their shoulders. At a time in their lives when they should be happy and enjoying
their freedom, many students are buckling under the pressure...
Interviewer: What advice can you give them, Dr Gartner?
Dr Gartner: Well, to manage exam stress, you must find ways to keep calm. Practice
relaxation techniques, exercise regularly and study early for exams. Eating the right foods
during stressful times is very important too.
Interviewer: What about parents, do you think that they can relieve some of their children’s
Dr Gartner: Yes, definitely. Parents need to contribute to a positive and relaxed atmosphere
especially during exam periods. Some parents are negatively affecting their children’s mental
health by nagging about studying all the time, criticising them and putting them down,
comparing them with other children and constantly focusing on marks and percentages.
Negative attitudes cause children and young people to get more and more stressed.
Interviewer: Do you have any tips for parents who want to help reduce exam stress for their
Dr Gartner: The most important thing here is that they should try help their children feel as
relaxed as possible. They should try to remain calm themselves, ensure their children are
getting enough sleep and time away from schoolwork. And constant encouragement is vitally
Interviewer: Thank you very much, Dr Gartner, for sharing your insights. We hope to
welcome you here again.
To let down someone
To make someone disappointed when you have not fulfilled a promise.
She promised that she would be there but she let me down.
To break down
1. To become very upset.
2. When something stops working
1. She broke down when she opened her results.
2. The lift broke down.
To bring somebody/something down
1. To make someone lose their powerful position.
2. To make something end.
1. He brought his boss down by exposing personal emails.
2. The rise in export prices could bring the hospitality industry down.
To bottle something up
To refuse to talk about things when someone is worried or upset.
After his father passed away, he bottled his emotions up and wouldn’t talk to anyone.
To get something across
To make someone believe or understand something
He tried to get his point across but his manager wouldn’t listen.