Early summer can often mean exam time for young people, so staff at Epsom and St Helier hospitals are offering some top tips to help you stay unstressed, and make smart choices when it comes to your revision.
According to a survey of 1,300 pupils undertaken by the charity Childline, 96% of the young people who took part said they felt stressed or anxious about their exams. It’s clear from these figures that exam stress is an issue that affects the vast majority of students.
Dr Ruth Charlton, Joint Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive (and Consultant Paediatrician), said: “It is completely normal to be stressed at exam times, and in fact, being stressed about your exams shows that you are taking them seriously. However, when stress becomes overwhelming, it can have a negative impact on your mental wellbeing and academic performance.
“It is important to deal with this stress in a healthy and productive manner; try going outside for a walk or a jog, meeting up with friends for a few hours for a revision break, or cooking yourself a nice healthy meal. Whilst revision is important, it is also important to take a rest. You will probably find that you will be more productive after you have given your mind a chance to recover.”
Ruth also has this advice to parents: “Whilst we all want to see our children do well in their exams, and support them in any way we can, it is important that you don’t add to your child’s stress levels, you should encourage them, but try not to worry them.”
Stress can affect how you feel emotionally, mentally and physically, and also how you behave:
- How you may feel emotionally: overwhelmed, irritable and ‘wound up’, anxiousor fearful, lacking in self esteem
- How you may feel mentally: racing thoughts, constant worrying, difficulty concentrating, difficulty making decisions
- How you may feel physically: headaches, muscle tension or pain, dizziness, sleep problems, feelingtired all the time, eating too much or too little.
- How you may behave: drinking or smoking more, snapping at people, avoiding things or people you are having problems with.
For more information about exam stress, including a free guide to beating it, visit Childline at www.childline.org.uk/info-advice/school-college-and-work/school-college/exam-stress/.