Guest Post by Vincent Bulmer – For many people, examinations and stress are irreparably joined. All students suffer from the stress of exams at some point in their lives and this pressure can lead to emotional distress and, in extreme cases, severe health problems or conditions.
Public knowledge of stress-inducing exams has become more widespread over years with numerous national newspapers commenting on the situation.
This has made stress relieving tactics a vital concern for both adults and youngsters, with a combined effort being made to reduce the pressure placed on those in education. According to a BBC report from 2004, American statistics showed students who experienced higher levels of stress performed worse in their examinations – but just how can you reduce stress during exams?
1. Stay calm
Unfortunately, stress is not the only emotion which students have to face and when panic sets in there is little hope for youngsters. This makes staying calm vital and anything from breathing exercises to physical activity can help to give students a reprieve from the stress of exams.
2. Make it manageable
Just as “bite-size” GCSE examinations were expected to relieve exam stress, breaking your revision into smaller pieces can also help to relieve some of the tension. Tackling all of your revision in one go can be a daunting experience and leave students feeling out of their depth. Separate you workload by subjects and topics to make it more manageable.
3. Develop a schedule
Breaking your workload into smaller pieces also enables you to create a clearly defined revision schedule. This is an invaluable tool during the exam period and can help you to stay focused, thus reducing your stress. Set yourself a target of how many areas you want to revise in a given sitting and remember to take regular breaks – this gives your mind a rest and allows you to reward yourself for the hard work you have put in.
4. Prepare thoroughly
One of the most obvious ways to reduce stress during exams is to increase preparation. Whilst it is important that children take time out to relax, one of the most common causes of exam apprehension is a feeling of unpreparedness. To counteract this, preparation is needed and ultimately children need to balance their revision with other activities. Exam practice and private tuition could also help by providing children with a formal environment in which to supplement their in-school learning.
5. Implement a reward system
Rewarding yourself after you have completed each unit of revision or study is an easy way to keep yourself focused and relaxed. The reward can be anything from going out with friends to watching some TV but is sure to keep you motivated.
Vincent Bulmer is a retired teacher from Kent. He is a regular blogger who offers advice on exam preparation and revision to students and parents. He runs a group which teaches revision strategies to children to improve their exam performance.
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