Thursday, 8 May 2014

Exam stress – simple advice for pupils, students and parents

If you're currently revising for exams, you may be feeling worn out, stressed and fed up and you may be wondering if there is anything you can do to make things easier on yourself. If you're a parent, you may be wondering how to help your child do their best. We've put together some basic tips for pupils and parents:

Tips for pupils 
  1. Strike a balance between work and rest: don’t try to work 24 hours a day, but make sure you revise a bit each day. Take regular breaks and have some exam-free time when you see friends or family. This will help you to work healthily, concentrate and retain information. 
  2. Pay attention to your basic needs: eat well and avoid caffeinated and fizzy drinks. Water is good. Sleep is very important too – you are more likely to perform well if you've had a good nights sleep than if you've stayed up all night cramming. Take time to unwind before you go to bed. 
  3. Keep things in perspective: your exams might feel like the most important thing in your life, but what’s the worst that could happen? 
  4. Relax: Some physical symptoms of stress can be strong and include butterflies, shaking, sweaty palms and difficulty falling asleep. Anxiety may increase as you enter the exam room. Simple exercises, such as taking a deep breath, lifting your shoulders as high as possible and then letting them and your breath go, can provide instant relief. Repeat this exercise a few times. 

Tips for parents
  1. Stay calm: you may worry your child is applying themselves too hard or not enough. In both cases, the important thing is to stay calm and talk to them about it. 
  2. Work with your child: think about what your child's underlying emotions might be and work with them. Often pupils put revision off or throw themselves into it. Both approaches can be fuelled by anxiety (fight or flight).
For further information visit First Psychology Scotland.