Exam Stress

It’s that time of year again when exam stress rears it’s ugly head. In the last week alone I have booked in 3 new clients because of this issue. It may be GCSE’s, A Levels or like my poor 10 year old daughter SATS. Exam stress is hard! Not only for the kids struggling with it, but also for parents trying to support their offspring.

Where does it come from?

With exams just around the corner kids begin to ask themselves – Do I know enough? Have I done enough work? Have I leaned the right thing? They can begin to compare themselves to others and start to imagine all sorts of terrible outcomes. What if I fail?What will I do next? All of this can lead to a feeling of being out of control. Pressure can come from school, parents and peers. All to often the biggest pressure comes from themselves.

How to spot exam stress

  • Irritability and anger

  • Reduced appetite

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Feeling Tearful

  • Feeling panicky

  • Headaches

  • Abdominal symptoms

How do deal with exam stress

Being prepared –  do you know what you need to learn? Do you know the structure of the exam? The more information you can find out beforehand the better prepared you will be. Looking at old papers and mark schemes can help with this.

Make a plan – a revision time table allows you to use your time efficiently and break revision up into manageable chunks.

Know when you work best and aim to study then when possible – some people work best in the morning, others are night owls.

Take a break – if you are feeling overwhelmed this is a signal that you need to give yourself a break. Even a short break will allow you to gather your thoughts and focus. Decide what you need to tackle now and what can wait until later.

Eat well – our brains and bodies function much better when we have the fuel we need to function. If you are finding it hard to con concentrate it may be that your blood sugar is low. Aim to eat foods which will maintain your blood sugar for a sustained period such as wholemeal bread, pasta and baked potatoes rather than a quick fix like a chocolate bar.

Relax – the more relaxed you are the easier you will find it to focus and study. Tension and stress interfere with our ability to concentrate. Sitting at a desk all day can create a lot of tension in the body. Every day take 5-10 minutes to practice a breathing meditation or a body scan.

Sleep well – it can be tempting to sit up all night and cram for exams. The reality is that if you have not had enough rest your brain will not retain information. If you are tied go to sleep you will find that you remember much more if you are properly rested. This will relax your body and mind and keep you focused.

Do some exercise – this is another great way of releasing tension. A short break doing some exercise will allow you to refocus and also stimulate the release of endorphins the bodies natural antidepressants, lifting your mood.

Take a step back and look at the bigger picture – if you feel that you have messed up an exam there is nothing you can do about. Worrying will not change the outcome and it may effect your performance in other exams. Try to let go of those worries and move onto the next test. Of course GCSE’s and A Levels are important but they are not the only thing you need to do well in life. There are many skills that can help you gain employment in the future unrelated to passing exams. Remember if the worst comes to the worst you can usually retake an exam.

Good luck to all of you!

If you would like to know more about how hypnotherapy can help you or someone you know to cope with exam stress please call me on 07769892376 and follow me on Twitter and Facebook.




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