As we begin a new year, exams will be at the forefront of the minds of many students. Whether it’s 11+ entrance exams, GCSEs or A levels, the preparation for and undertaking of intense examination can cause high levels of stress and anxiety. This is due to a combination of perceived pressures from society, school, family and our own mindset that places an increasing and extraordinarily high value on career success.
As young people, our minds are not fully adjusted to cope with this pressure, as we have not developed our own mechanisms for stress management the same way we do as adults. We know our exams are important, but we often jeopardise how prepared we can be simply because coping with the stress itself can have a detrimental effect on the time and quality of our studies. It is important to reduce stress levels so overall performance can increase.
Here are five simple steps that any child can adopt in their daily lives order to minimise exam stress:
- Adopt a good sleeping routine: Such a simple adjustment as going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can have enormously positive affect on mental health, and will generally increase cognitive functioning and wellbeing.
- Eat a good breakfast: Protein and fat heavy breakfasts are good as they provide a sustained increase in energy levels throughout the day. Breakfasts that are high in sugar can cause an energy spike and crash, resulting in poorer concentration and increased stress.
- Exercise:Many psychologists believe that exercise is the best way to combat against stress as it produces endorphins in the blood, a chemical that acts as a natural painkiller and can also improve quality of sleep (in turn reducing stress).
- Make a plan: Making a plan and sticking to it can have enormous benefits for revision. It is important to make the plan realistic so you are not setting insurmountable tasks but meanwhile still getting enough work done. Give as much time before exams as possible. It is good to start with small, easy to manage steps and then increase the workload more as you become more effective in your revision.
- Put it in perspective: Exams are important, but fortunately we live in a society where exam results are not the be all and end all of success. The world is still rife with opportunities for people who are hard working and determined no matter what results you achieved in school. So work hard, aspire to achieve, but always keep your head up and just remember the world is bigger than your exam results!
Daniel is a maths and science tutor with Newman Tuition. To book a lesson with him, or one of our other excellent tutors, please call us on 020 3198 8006, email us at [email protected], or complete the form on the Contact Us page.