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Exam Anxiety v Stress, what’s the difference and how can we help?

Posted April 27, 2017

Exam Stress

Exam Anxiety v Stress, what’s the difference and how can we help?

As the exams fast approach it’s important for students, parents/guardians and teachers to try to draw a distinction between natural exam nerves and Stress.

From a psychological perspective, a certain amount of anxiety or apprehension can be healthy and beneficial as it helps us to stay focused and motivates us to work hard and to do our best in exams. It helps stave off procrastination and ensures that we stay alert and follow our study plan, confident in the knowledge that we are preparing well and doing our best.

Exam Stress on the other hand is much more likely to be unhealthy, less beneficial and can lead to all kinds of difficulties for both students and their families. Sleep patterns are often disrupted leading to increased irritability and unpleasantness in the home and students and their parents often find themselves in a state of high tension. Parents may feel that their children aren’t putting in enough effort, while low motivation levels and procrastination often inhibit students from memorising and learning large swathes of course material.

Here are some ways that we can help ensure that everyone copes better during the exam season.

  • Try to provide a healthy balanced diet.
  • Teenagers need between 8 & 10 hours sleep, try to ensure they get it.
  • Try to limit last minute studying the night before an exam.
  • Parents/Guardians show flexibility in relation to tidy bedrooms e.t.c.
  • Be a calming influence. Reassure & Be Positive.
  • Encourage breaks & exercise.
  • Provide small rewards/treats.


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