Exams and stress come hand in hand. Of course young people are going to stress when they are told that the grades that they get at the end of August will dictate where they go in life. Whilst there are many options for those who don't get the results that they want, the overbearing weight of responsibility can feel smothering to students going through exams.
Stress isn't necessarily a bad thing. It can help you to focus and reach your full potential. However, too much stress can become toxic. Stress can have the same effect on the brain as excessive consumption of alcohol when in too high levels, so it is important to ensure that you find ways to cope and de-stress between exams.
The exam pressure with nagging teachers, social media and parent, will seem inescapable. Revise, revise, revise will be a motto drilled into pupils at this point. And whilst revision is key to getting the best grades you can get, so is taking care of yourself. Trust me, I'm an exam survivor who got some amazing grades.
Exam stress can be mitigated through managing your time effectively. Try to get a loose schedule for when you're going to work, eat and play. Try to get a rough idea for how much time you will need to study per subject, but don't forget to build in enough time to relax and to be yourself. This, in my opinion is the most important part of the exam season.
Imagine this: spend 14 hours a day over this half term studying; live off Redbull and junkfood; feel awful; get into the exam and sleep. Whilst this scenario may feel too wacky to be true, for a lot of students it is what happens. The simple fact of the matter is the exam doesn't care how much time you spent studying. It doesn't care about your predicted grades. It doesn't care about your entry requirements for college. It only cares about how well you do on the day. Its your job to make sure you are in the best possible shape on this day.
Studying for too long will make your revision less effective, but will also make you tired. You need to make sure you are well rested, hydrated and calm to be in the best place as you possibly can be for the exams. Don't allow yourself to be flustered or too stressed: go for a walk or meet some friends. You may have people say this is a reckless use of your time, but the fact is a social life- and time away from the books- is equally important as revision.
So, if you are feeling stressed this exam season, try one of the following:
Go for a walk. Walking is a great way to escape from stress. Around Rochdale there are some beautiful walking spots that go unnoticed. Go to places such as Wardle reservoir or Healey Dell.
Exercise. Exercising releases endorphins, which naturally de-stress you. Not only that, but it gets the oxygen flowing, which can actually boost concentration and help when it comes to revision.
Meet with friends. Going out with mates is a great way to beat the exam stress. You can be there for each other in what may feel like the most stressful experience ever. Visit one of Rochdale's amazing parks or even kick back at one of the local youth centres.
Go to the Friday night provision. Rochdale Youth Service has Friday night provision at different venues across the Borough. This is a great way to meet new people and exercise whilst leaving exam stress behind for a few hours.
The key to unlocking your potential is making sure you are in the right place for the exam. Good luck, and I wish you all the best.