Part of the anxiety is caused by the fact that the task seems huge, impossible and overwhelming.
DS1 and I sat down together and made a list of the topics he needs to cover for each subject. When he actually looked at the list, he realised that there were quite a few topics that he already understands and feels confident about, which helped.
It also broke the task down into manageable sections, which made it easier to start and as he ticks each one off, he can see what he has achieved.
These methods definitely reduced the anxiety for him.
I'm having a similar problem with my youngest DD(3) (year 8) at the minute. I almost wish the same could be said for her sister, who seems to be so laid back about her GCSEs she's horizontal!!
My eldest has been having a bit of a rough time recently so all of my energy is focused on getting her through her A Levels, but it is starting to worry me that DD3 is putting too much pressure on herself- cried recently because she'd dropped 3 marks from the time before in a class assessment. She has a really strong perfectionist attitude, and although I (and her sisters) keep telling her nothing matters as long as she tries her best, I'm not sure how much of that she takes on board.
I would agree with Inncogneetow that getting your DD out of the house for the day is a good step to take. From experience, I know my girls will sometimes 'freak' if they spend too much time in the same four walls- maybe just the change of scenery will help to relax her? Also, something physical might help her to burn off any nervous energy.
Also, you could maybe try talking to her about how excessive work/stress/not sleeping etc will only affect her performance negatively, and she'd be much better off working in moderation.
Such a tricky situation to be in. I hope it all works out!
Oh dear, poor dd. One thing you could try would be planning some fun days out/days off. ie take at least one weekend day and don't give her the opportunity to do some revision, but get lots of fresh air and exercise and have some fun.
Generally, making sure she has some fresh air and exercise every day might help her sleep better.
As an overall approach, try and plan with her when she is working and praise her for working effectively in this time and achieving her goals. ie it is much better to spend 45 mins revising a history topic and get through it; than to slave over it for 3 hrs.
Another thing that can help for some students is to say the results are not the important thing. If she's worked hard and done her best, this is what should be praised/rewarded, not the final result (so she doesn't need to stress about it).
Have you let school know how stressed/worried she is?
DD has spent this weekend in a total funk. Crying, upset, thinks she's going to fail her (year 7) exams, working obsessively, gets upset when I stop her working. Not sleeping due to worry, and then having nightmares.
She is at a selective (but not massively) school. She is in middle sets so doing ok. School are not putting pressure on; these are exams but not important ones.
I really don't want her to be like this. We are trying to stop her working too much, but then she worries that she won't be good enough in the exams so it doesn't help the anxiety.