Learning how to manage stress so that it doesn’t manage you, is an important life skill. It is normal to feel stressed or anxious during exams. The key to managing stress during exams is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, keep perspective in check and ensure you are prepared.
Here are seven tips on how to calm nerves before an exam:
The key to exam success is preparation. Have a study plan, organise notes and start preparing well in advance. It’s important to allow enough time to study so that information moves from your short-term memory to your long-term memory, so avoid cramming the night before. There are many ways to structure study time – here are just two strategies to help students manage study time effectively. Come exam time it can also be helpful to set out exam materials the night before an exam to avoid any last-minute decision-making and panic in the morning.
Practising past exam papers under exam conditions is excellent preparation. Practice allows you to identify those areas where you are struggling so that you can focus your attention and maximise your study time. It’s also good preparation for working within strict time constraints.
A balanced diet is essential for health and wellbeing. Avoid high-sugar, high-fat and overly caffeinated food and drinks, as these can have a negative impact on mood. Have healthy snacks such as fruit, vegetables and nuts prepared ahead of time to avoid going for the convenience of sugary snacks. Hard boiled eggs and natural yoghurt are good sources of protein that will help you feel fuller for longer.
Sleeping well is vital for wellbeing and can have a significant impact on academic success. Avoid oversleeping or taking long naps, and ensure you get a good night’s rest. It is recommended that teenagers get between eight and 10 hours of sleep each night. Sleeping well will improve concentration levels throughout the day and prepare the mind for learning and study. Discover how to improve sleep habits to ensure the body is adequately rested and rejuvenated.
5. Relaxation routines
Practising mindfulness and relaxation techniques are excellent ways of calming the nerves. Meditation, breathing exercises and relaxation routines allow you to maintain awareness and be present in the moment. Mindfulness provides the opportunity to be quiet in the presence of God in prayer and strengthen our relationship to Christ. It also promotes a more positive mindset, where we can replace negative thoughts with more encouraging self-talk.
Exercise can help boost energy levels, clear the mind and relieve stress. Physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins that improve mood and better prepare your body for memory retention. Regular exercise and physical activity can have a positive effect on academic performance. It is known to promote the growth of new brain cells and enhance brain function. It’s recommended that adolescents aged 12 to 18 have at least one hour of physical exercise each day.
7. Maintain perspective
The key to staying calm during exams is to keep fears in perspective. It is unhealthy to invest too much self-worth in exams. Exam results don’t have any bearing on who you are as a person. There are always alternative pathways to your chosen field, it might just take a little longer to get there. As the saying goes, “Life is about the journey, not the destination.”
Read more tips on managing stress during exams. Stress and anxiety can become overwhelming during adolescence. It is important to talk to your son so that he understands what stress is and how to overcome it. If you are concerned, read the signs that indicate your son is not coping with stress.
Our mission at Trinity Grammar School is to provide a thoroughly Christian education for boys from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12, imparting knowledge and understanding of the world we live in, and recognising the importance of spiritual qualities in every sphere of learning.
Trinity is fuelled by a pastorally aware culture with exceptionally high levels of individual student attention, and we pride ourselves on knowing, understanding and nurturing every student.
The Trinity Education Support Services (TESS) department offers a wide range of support for boys, including those who need social and emotional support. The TESS Counselling department comprises psychologists who offer individual counselling and assessment for learning and mental health needs, small group-based programmes, parent information sessions, and assistance with life skills programming and year group presentations.
Our Life Skills Programme is part of a whole School approach to health and wellbeing. In conjunction with the development of ethical, moral and religious values, its goal is to enhance boys’ capacity to be emotionally resilient and socially competent.
To learn more about the Trinity difference, and how we support boys’ mental health through the demands of Year 12, download our Year 12 Life Skills Programme.