Exam season is almost upon us and for thousands of secondary school students, June will see them sit their state exams for the junior and senior cycle. Younger children may have summer tests and university students have exams too. It can be a stressful time for both students and parents as they enter into the final few weeks of study and get set to take their papers. We wanted to give you a few tips to help cope with exam stress and hopefully achieve the results you are all hoping for.
As parents and friends be there to support. Give advice when asked for it, but keep it to a minimum. Most students know what they have to do so make it as simple as possible for them to get on with their study.
As a parent it is only natural to be anxious on behalf of your child. You understand the impact the results could have on their future. But it is really important that your child does not pick up on stress that you are feeling. They have enough going on of their own. And be sure they understand that no matter what the results, you’ll be there for them and together you will figure out what happens after results day.
Ensure breaks are built into any study time. Exercise will energise your body and mind. Getting out for a walk, swim or run for just 20 minutes will leave you refreshed and ready for the next subject or chapter. And while you study, it is important to get up and stretch every half hour or so to give your body and mind a break.
Nutrition is key too. You need to stay hydrated to get your mind working at optimum levels and water is best. Try to keep sugary snacks to a minimum, they will give you a short burst of energy but ultimately will not fulfil your nutritional needs. Create some healthy snacks for your child to nibble on and insist on your usual routine of mealtimes. The old adage healthy body, healthy mind is never more true than when the body is under stress.
Limit use of social media. This is a difficult one as the phone is an extension of most student’s bodies these days! But the hype created by well meaning friends can send stress levels through the roof. From students who are freaking out because they have discovered a chapter they never knew existed to those who want to let the world know how much of the course they have covered. All of this is a distraction and adds to the stress your child feels. So encourage them to leave their phones in another room while they study and check them only during study breaks.
If you see your child is heading towards panic, try and get them to talk to you about what they feel most stressed about. They may feel overwhelmed with all they have left to do. But helping them work out a practical study routine, with times and breaks built in, for the subjects they feel most concerned about, may help avoid that rising panic.
Best of luck to all students taking exams in the coming weeks and months. Check out www.mykidstime.com for healthy nutrition ideas and more exam advice.