EXAM STRATEGIES TO HELP RELIEVE ANXIETY AND STRESS

With exam season upon us we need to consider how we can support our youngsters through this difficult time in an attempt to make it as stress free as possible. My experience as a teacher for 18 years and Housemistress to 44 senior girls, aged 13–18, for the last 3½ years has heightened my awareness of the difficulties facing young adolescents at this time of the year. Here are some revision strategies and guidelines to help support your child through the exam season:

1) Prepared a thorough revision timetable and ensure you stick to it.

  • Prioritise subject topics
  • • Include downtime
  • • Revise in 20–30 minute blocks for a total of 3–4 hours per day
  • • A realistic revision timetable should help reduce stress and provide motivation
  • 2) Practice, practice, practice past papers
  • • Familiarise yourself with format, question styles, timings etc.
  • • Test yourself and mark your own papers
  • 3) Find a revision Strategy that works for you
  • • Flashcards
  • • Post It Notes
  • • Record your notes and then play it back
  • • Past papers
  • • Mind maps / spider diagrams to condense notes
  • • Websites containing videos, quizzes etc.
  • 4) Regular breaks are important – every 20–30 minutes (be sure not to over stimulate the brain during this time). Make a cup of tea, go for a walk, juggle!
  • 5) SLEEP is important
  • • Lack of sleep can affect the brain’s ability to process and retain information.
  • • Affect the capacity to deal with stress
  • • Blue light from devices suppresses melatonin needed for sleep
  • 6) HEALTHY DIET
  • • We have always been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, even more so during exams!
  • • Eat Frequently
  • • Eat plenty of fruit – It is good for the brain!
  • • Eat nutritious snacks
  • • Avoid sugary highs (and lows!)
  • • Keep hydrated – Dehydration can lead to tiredness
  • 7) DEALING WITH ANXIETY AND STRESS
  • • 7/11 Breathing Technique (breathing in from the diaphragm for 7 counts and breathing out for 11) This can be reduced to breathing in for 3 and out for 5 but the breath out must be longer.
  • • Exercise
  • • Meditation and Mindfulness
  • • Diet & Sleep
  • • Knowing where you are on the SUDS Scale (Subjective Units of Disturbance Scale). A scale of 0 to 10 for measuring the subjective intensity of disturbance or distress currently experienced by an individual. Use support available i.e. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as tapping, is an emerging psychological intervention that has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including exam stress.

SUDS Scale

0 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 -7 – 8 – 9 – 10

No. Mild. Moderate. Severe. Worst Possible

Angela Mathews

Facebook Page: Positive Mind / Healthy Body

Twitter: @AMactivelife

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