Exams are a time when students of all ages feel more stressed than usual. Stress can also be positive thing as it aids motivation and concentration. However too much stress can make a young person feel overwhelmed, confused, exhausted and edgy and consequently produce a negative impact on study results.
Exam anxiety is a natural reaction to too much pressure and can come from a number of sources including: young people themselves; comparisons with others; wanting to reach too ambitious goals; family members; peers or teachers.
Symptoms of Exam Anxiety
Signs your child may be experiencing exam anxiety include:
- Being cranky and irritable;
- Sleeping difficulties;
- Complaints of chest pains and/or nausea;
- Low self-esteem;
- Losing touch with friends;
- Difficulty getting motivated.
Suggestions for managing exam stress
- Effective Study habits: Effective study and learning habits can help to reduce exam stress in students of all ages. The Quirky Kid Clinic runs a study skills program to help students learn these skills
- Diet: Ensure your child is eating regular healthy meals throughout the exam period, drinking lots of water, and that they are monitoring their caffeine or sugar intake.
- Lifestyle: Encourage your child to keep up leisure activities such as seeing friends, exercising, or even watching television, as these activities give the brain a much-needed break from studying, which will allow for more effective study in the future.
- Sleep: Encourage your child to stop studying at least one hour prior to going to bed, in order to help them unwind and have a more restful sleep.
- Relaxation: Relaxation techniques such as breathing and muscle exercises can help your child calm down and manage their stress symptoms in a range of environments and situations. Child Psychologists at the Quirky Kid Clinic can help your child with relaxation exercises in an individual consultation or during our Why Worry workshop.
Please contact our clinic to make an appointment if you believe your child would benefit from some assistance in dealing with exam stress.
Information for this fact sheet was taken from Kimberley O’Brien, Child Psychologist, ReachOut .com, ParentLine and Kids Help Line}