The lead up to the exams
-Leave plenty of time for revision. You’ll increase your self-confidence and
avoid the stress of last minute cramming.
-Study where you study best. Create a pleasant work space and leave it tidy –
it’ll encourage you to get started next time.
-Find a routine that works for you.
-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.
-Make separate folders for each class, or coursework project. Perhaps colour
code your subjects.
-Focus, focus, focus! Don’t allow yourself to be easily distracted. Remember
you’re in the driving seat of your life! Take control!
-Revise with friends – test each other.
-Focus on starting – say “I’ll just…” Get used to getting down to work.
-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.
-Take regular breaks. You’ll be more productive, have more energy and better
-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….
-Deal with problems. What’s the problem exactly? Need to ask someone? Don’t
waste time and energy worrying – do something about it!
-Accept that the work has to be done and decide to tackle it head on.
-Don’t bottle things up.Talk to your friends/parents/anyone about your
problems. It will really help!!
-Don’t compare yourself with others - you’re on a hiding to nothing if you do.
-Thoughts and feelings are just passing through – don’t get swept away by
them. Calmly accept them – they are not you!!
-Learn relaxation techniques (….close your eyes, breathe deeply, imagine
tension melting away, every time breath out, feel more and more relaxed…)
-Exercise – the hormones it releases reduce stress and make you feel good!
-Ensure a good sleep routine – warm bath, oils, candles. And don’t worry if you can’t sleep – you’ll cope!
-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 time to read the questions. There's no rush.
-Use slow 'circular' deep breathing (often panic attacks are triggered by hyperventilation, i.e. over-breathing). Consciously relax your shoulders every time you breathe out.
-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. Think 'strong' thoughts - ‘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 eg “I can see you’re upset/angry ” (DON’T say ‘snap out of it!’) Walk and talk together – break down problems.
- Praise effort not achievement, otherwise kids can grow up believing that your approval depends on them
-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 is not the only path to success!!!
-It’s your relationship that matters – reassure them you are there for them whatever happens.