Healthy tips to exorcise exam stress

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We know many of you are revising for prelims at the moment – so this is a good time for reminders of hints and tips to cope with it all.

It’s perfectly normal for you to feel stressed when any exams or tests are coming up – believe it or not, a little stress is even good for you, as it gives you that rush of adrenaline which can help the student work faster and more efficiently. Too much stress, however, can cause problems. It can lead to mood changes, poor appetite and sleep, and low self-esteem, as well as affecting motivation, making study hard.

tackling exam stress

The most important thing is to make sure that you’re looking after yourself, both mentally and physically, at exam time.

Eat Well: Eating a balanced diet, including fruit, vegetables, bread, pasta, rice, etc. can help your concentration.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t allow yourself the odd treat from time to time, but loading up on sugary junk food can mean the body doesn’t get the nutrients it needs, which can leave you feeling irritable, washed out and depressed.

Healthy foods (such as fruits, vegetables and wholegrains) provide enough energy to concentrate on studying and you will tire less easily. So try to have an odd piece of fruit instead of crisps/sweets.

Sleep Well: A good night’s sleep will make you feel happier and more positive the next morning. Everyone needs at least eight hours sleep – and as a teenager this can rise to as much as 10 hours.

Start studying at the time of day you feel most awake, whether that’s first thing in the morning or in the evening – you know yourself.

Relax: Spend one or two nights a week relaxing, it’s nothing to feel guilty about. Just plan this time alongside your study to feel the benefits.

If you find you can’t unwind, try and do something that will keep your mind and your body active, such as playing football or dancing.

You may even find you return to your studies feeling refreshed and ready to tackle that hard topic you had been putting off.

Be Nice To Yourself: It’s all about positive mental attitude. If you tell yourself that you are great, that you can pass these exams and just generally psyche yourself up, you will be in a far better frame of mind both for revising and sitting exams.

Don’t Compare Yourself To Others: Set your goals based on what you know you can achieve, rather than trying to compete with friends. Everyone has their own method of studying and will work at a different pace.

Getting Extra Help: If you usually get extra help at school, it may be that support is required to enable you to do your best in exams. You might need someone to help you write your answers down in the exam (called scribing), or maybe you’ll need extra time or the use of a computer. Whatever support you need, it’s up to your school to make sure you get it. You can find out more about getting help with exams in Enquire’s factsheet – Getting Help with Exams.

If You Haven’t Done Quite So Well: Try not to worry. Remember, if you don’t do as well as expected, it is not the end of the world. Many successful people did not perform well in exams. If it really matters, you can always resit or redo it.

Talk To Someone: If you’re still stressed out and you feel it’s all getting too much, it’s important to talk to someone. Everyone knows sitting exams or tests can be one of the most stressful times of your life, so you are not alone.

Your year tutor or school counsellor may be able to show you some relaxation techniques and other ways of dealing with pressure, or arrange for someone to help with your studying.

Good luck! We know you can do it!