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Home > Knowledge & support > Guide for parents and carers > Education – from nursery to university > Taking exams
Stress can release hormones that cause blood glucose levels to rise. These hormones can also make it harder for injected insulin to work properly.
Inconsistent blood glucose levels can affect how your child feels during their exam. If glucose levels go too high or too low it can affect their vision, concentration and make them feel tired or lethargic.
Discuss your child’s needs with your Diabetes Healthcare Team, your child and the school. It’s good to do this as early as possible so that you have everything in place for when exams start.
It’s a good idea for your child to monitor their glucose levels closely while they’re studying. This can help give you some idea of how stress might affect their glucose levels. A flash glucose monitor or continuous glucose monitor may help you get an idea of patterns throughout a period of time.
Your child might need to adjust their insulin dose if they’re stressed, for example if their glucose levels are running high, they may need to take more insulin. You and your child should discuss this with your Diabetes Healthcare Team to help keep glucose levels in range.
Before you meet with the school, speak to your child and their Diabetes Healthcare Team about what is needed to support your child over the exam period. Some things you may want to discuss are:
This isn’t an exhaustive list, and there may be other things that you would like to be included. The school may want a letter from your Diabetes Healthcare Team outlining your child’s needs.
Your child should already have an Individual Healthcare Plan in place at school. This is a document which outlines how your child’s type 1 diabetes will be managed in school and should include what the school will do during exams.
It should include the areas that you discussed with your child’s Diabetes Healthcare Team (see above).
Before the exam, you can ask your child’s school or college to apply to the exam awarding body for extra access arrangements during exams. For example, if you’re monitoring your child’s glucose monitor remotely, you can send messages to your child’s phone if they need prompting to manage their levels. In this case, the exam invigilator would have your child’s phone during the exam. They would check the text message from you and then show your child the medical prompt. Prompts must only be related to type 1 diabetes and can’t including anything about other aspects of the exam. You can also ask for your child to use wireless earphones so they can hear alerts and alarms without disturbing others, if an individual room with an individual invigilator is not available. These arrangements must be agreed well ahead of the exams.
When it’s time for the exam, your child should test their glucose in the hours before the exam. If they’re using flash or a continuous glucose monitor, you may be able to help monitor this with or for them, if they’re happy for you to do so (see above on the rules for monitoring your child’s levels during an exam).
Your child may want to have a small snack directly before the exam to stop them from having a hypo during the exam.
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