Four top tips to surviving your exams

Students in classroom during class

Are you now deep into exam territory? If so, read on. If not, read on anyway because these tips are going to help you down the line.

Maybe you’re breezing the experience but there’s a chance you may be stressing about how things are going. The usual ways these feelings can show are one or more of the following: poor appetite, increased irritability, headaches, unexplained aches and pains, tiredness and even forgetfulness; not something you need right now.

If this sounds like you, there are a few quick fixes to try before you look further afield for help. It’s important to say that if you’re feeling any of the above and you want some help, don’t delay. Reach out to a parent or carer, a teacher or a doctor, you’ll be amazed at how much help is there for you, it’s just a matter of looking in the right place and asking the right people.

So, here are four practical fixes for you to try. Some are easy to achieve; others will take practice. All will be useful as you move through education and out into the wider world.

Don’t compare yourself to others: It’s never an effective way to judge how well you’re doing. The best way to succeed at anything is to perform to your own personal best. By focusing on your own successes and appreciating your own strengths you will feel and function better. This is never more true than when you’re in the middle of exams. Also remember that just because your mate says they’ve aced an exam when you think you may have failed, it doesn’t make it true.

Enjoy exercise: It’s that simple. Our minds are always de-stressed by a good workout, preferably in the fresh air. Find the type of physical you enjoy, for example, dance, football, trampolining or yoga. If you can’t fit regular sessions into your timetable, go for a 10-minute walk every day.

Spot your stress points: If you feel one of those moments coming on before an exam, simply move away from your physical situation and find a relaxing place to be. Phone a friend or someone who knows the stress you’re under. Sometimes a quick chat is all you need to get things back into perspective. If you’re inside the exam room, five deep breaths in and out are usually the reset your mind needs to find its concentration again.

Create a sleep routine, and stick to it: Teenagers need to sleep longer and deeper than anyone else. The blue light from screens has been shown to suppress melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleep and wake cycles. Aim for a time when you need to be asleep and then work back from that. You will need to turn off your phone, tablet and laptop 15-30 minutes before that time in order for your brain to wind down effectively and drift off to sleep.

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