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Take Control of Exam Stress!
The Pre-Exam period – Top 20 tips
1.Leave plenty of time for revision. You’ll increase your self-confidence and
avoid the stress of last minute cramming.
2.Study where you study best. Create a pleasant work space and leave it tidy – it’ll
encourage you to get started next time.
3.Find a routine that works for you.
4.Plan your work, make a list, prioritise, and then work on the most important first.
Break it down into small steps. Tick off each step.
5.Make separate folders for each class, or coursework project. Perhaps colour
code your subjects.
6.Focus, focus, focus! Don’t allow yourself to be easily distracted. Remember
you’re in the driving seat of your life! Take control!
7.Revise with friends – test each other.
8.Focus on starting – say “I’ll just…” Get used to getting down to work.
9.Pace yourself – plan your revision so you have time for fun and relaxation too. If
you push too hard you’ll suffer and be less effective.
10.Take regular breaks. You’ll be more productive, have more energy and better
11.Reward yourself – promise yourself a treat when you’ve completed a certain
piece of work/revision, eg watch a TV programme, have a relaxing hot bath….
12.Deal with problems. What’s the problem exactly? Need to ask someone? Don’t
waste time and energy worrying – do something about it!
13.Accept that the work has to be done and decide to tackle it head on.
14.Don’t bottle things up - talk to your friends/parents/anyone about your
problems. It will really help!!
15.Don’t compare yourself with others - you’re on a hiding to nothing is you do.
16.Thoughts and feelings are just passing through – don’t get swept away by
them. Calmly accept them – they are not you!!
17.Learn relaxation techniques (….close your eyes, breathe deeply, imagine
tension melting away, every time breath out, feel more and more relaxed…)
18.Exercise – the hormones it releases reduce stress and make you feel good!
19.Good sleep routine – warm bath, oils, candles. And don’t worry if you can’t
sleep – you’ll cope!
20.Remember - there is life after exams!!!
The exams themselves
-Go for a quick walk before the exam. It’ll make you feel less nervous.
-Arrive with time to spare. Don’t risk being late and feeling even more
-Believe in yourself - think like a winner. Remember, no-one can know it all!
-If your mind goes blank, don’t panic!! Take your time to read the questions. There's no rush.
-Use slow, deep breathing (panic attacks are often triggered by hyperventilation). Consciously relax your shoulders etc.
-Remember everyone will be feeling pretty much like you – even though you’re convinced they all know more than you do!!
-Give yourself a good talking to. ‘I can do this, ‘It’ll be fine’…
-Most of all keep things in perspective. It’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t go well. You can always retake them!
-Watch for symptoms of stress: change in behaviour, sleep problems, stomach, headaches, nightmares - eating, smoking, drugs
-Take pressure off - cut some slack re chores, priorities, moodiness.
-Offer support – talk gently – “I can see you’re upset/angry ” (DON’T say ‘snap out of it!’) Walk and talk together – break down problems.
-Encourage to seek help if concerned – it’s a strength not a weakness.
-Don’t project your own anxiety and frustrations about the outcome onto your child! Deal with your own anxiety – otherwise that makes everything worse.
-Be calm, reassuring…keep everything in perspective – academic achievement not the only path to success!!!
-It’s your relationship that matters – reassure them you are there for them whatever happens.