Dealing with exam stress
How do you feel about exams? Is it the one thing you dread or an experience you relish because it's your time to shine? Every year, many young people sit exams and whether they love or loathe them, most of them will face some anxiety in the lead up to the big day.
If you're anxious about your exams, don't worry, you're not alone. It might seem like a stressful time when the pressure is on to pass that all-important test but take a deep breath and absorb some good advice from people who've been through the same experience as you.
Eating the right food can feed your brain and keep you alert. Nutritional therapist Kerry Torrens recommends making breakfast the most important meal of the day. She recommends eating energy-giving oats and eggs, which contain a nutrient called choline - thought to help cognitive performance and improve memory as we age. And don't forget to drink lots of water to keep you hydrated – some research even suggests students who take water into the exam hall may even improve their grades.
One thing I know I always need is a good night's sleep to help me work and think better the next day and that's what's recommended for anyone preparing for their exams. If you get good sleep your memory is better and that means you can retain the information you have revised. And it's good to wind down before bedtime too – no watching TV or chatting on social media!
A good way to reduce your stress is to write down your anxieties. This is something that Lisa Artis from the Sleep Council recommends because it can 'free your mind'. She also says sitting on your bed when you're cramming is not a good idea because then you associate that place with stress. Revising for exams can also sometimes seem relentless, so it's good to take breaks and reward yourself with a small treat, like a cake or a quick run around the block. There comes a point when your brain can't absorb any more information so you'll also need to know when to stop.
But if all this talk about revising and exams is still stressing you out, be assured that there are some people who will always be more on edge than you: your parents! They're there to support you but they'll be biting their fingernails, worrying about you and the final results. So maybe you need to give them some advice – chill, everything will be ok!