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How to manage stress during exams

Earlier this month, Tes reported Roger Taylor (Ofqual Chair) saying that students’ mental fragility is the major cause of their exam stress.

mental health awareness week 2019It is natural to feel stressed during exam season, especially since, in most cases, it will determine whether you pursue one career or another, or where you might live. But it is crucial to accept the challenge and to use it productively to improve performance. With our GCSE and A-level pupils currently sitting or preparing for exams, and Mental Health Awareness Week being this week, we thought it would be relevant to talk about what pupils can do to keep their mind healthy while going through this stage of their learning journey.

Here are some tips from our expert teachers to keep you healthy whilst under pressure:

  1. Be self-aware – be realistic about what you can achieve and don’t compare yourself to others; keep things in perspective; plan ahead to avoid surprises
  2. Ensure you organise a couple of things to look forward to each week: watching football; a box set; cinema, meal out – rewards for the hard work during the week
  3. Write down five things you are grateful for before going to bed
  4. Music playlists: upbeat to energise in the morning; calming in the evening
  5. Exercise, sleep, limit the blue screen. It is important to keep active during exams
  6. Have a good routine to unwind before going to bed – walking the dog, fresh air, reading, a walk and talk with friends / parents, discussing in summary what you learnt earlier in the day
  7. Firm cut off points to stop work or topic revision – it helps productivity
  8. Use quizlet and flashcards to be productive when you have unexpected dead moments of time waiting for a minibus, parents, lunch etc
  9. Keep talking with mates and parents and stay in a positive frame of mind about the things you can do
  10. For many subjects, your exam work doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be relevant and well-argued. Mathematics and other such subjects require precision, so read the question thoroughly before formulating your workings and answer