In this blog series we have been talking about stress and the impact it can have on children sitting exams. We have talked about what the authorities are doing to countermeasure the stress children are placed under. But what can we do ourselves to help our children and ourselves manage stress? Read below to find out more:
Shari Melman, Steven G Little and K. Angeleque Akin Little wrote a paper on adolescent overscheduling. It was found that more time spent in activities was directly related to higher levels of anxiety. Dr. Veritas argues that overscheduling can harm your mental health, results in children becoming disinterested easily and weakens family relationships. Having too much going on can be detrimental to a child's development. By preventing overscheduling, this will give children more time to focus on their exams and mean they have more time to play so they are less pressured.
The NHS recommends a balanced, healthy and nutritious diet particularly around exams. Eating the wrong foods at exam time can even increase stress. Sakshita Khosia and UCLA say to beat exam stress you shouldn't skip meals, eat healthy snacks, eat fresh foods and stay hydrated. Dehydration (from caffeine, tea and energy drinks) can make it difficult to focus. You should also eat regularly at proper mealtimes to help your body get the nutrients it needs and prevent overeating.
Make time for sleep
College students regularly don't get enough sleep and according to Statista nearly 3 out of 4 of America's 18 million students feel "overwhelming anxiety". One of these stresses is probably exam pressure. Yet getting enough sleep can help. According to The University of Health Center sleep "restores our energy, fights off illness and fatigue by strengthening our immune system, helps us think more clearly and creatively, strengthens memory and produces a more positive mood and better performance throughout the day". It can also combat those stressed out feelings. Sounds ideal for passing exams! Younger children need more sleep and college students should be getting 6-10 hours.
By planning ahead for exams (creating revision timetables, creating a good area to study, studying ahead of time etc.) can all help reduce the stress of exams. Creating a checklist, especially if you are studying more than one topic or subject, can help keep your revision on task and destress you. By knowing when and where your exam is this can help relieve some of the nerves as you will feel more prepared for stressful events. Additionally, prepare any equipment you need for the exam ahead of schedule. Do not assume for a mathematics calculator exam that the school has scientific calculators available for you. This is for two reasons. Firstly, they may not have them on the day and secondly by getting your own calculator it gives you time to practice all its functions before the exam and know how to use it. Please note make sure the calculator is approved by your exam board for your paper (not all calculators are allowed in exams). Additionally, making sure you have a watch (not a smart watch - also band) can ensure you feel prepared time wise in the exam.
Get a tutor
Getting a tutor can take the stress out of the subject. They can teach you or your child so you feel more confident with subjects you were struggling with. They can also help maintain the motivation to study so it's not being left to the last minute. Tutors can teach you how to destress. They can help you be more prepared and help you improve exam technique or even build a revision timetable. Tutors can teach their students the life skills necessary to destress.