What can young people do to cope with exam stress?
Few of us enjoy taking exams, and recent changes to GCSEs mean pupils in England and Wales are taking more exams than ever before.
No surprise then that one in six students report feeling overwhelmed.
While a little bit of stress is healthy and can focus the mind, too much can lead to chronic anxiety, and this stress can easily filter out through the whole family.
So whether you’re a student or a parent, what can you do to ease the burden?
The good news is that schools are increasingly aware of exam stress and many are offering ways to manage it. Some offer classes to help students plan and organise exam workload, and some schools offer mindfulness, meditation, yoga – and even dog-petting - as therapies.
However the approach with the most evidence behind it is a type of psychological therapy known as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy , or CBT.
In essence, CBT teaches you to recognise unhelpful thoughts that can lead to anxiety (“my life will be over if I don’t pass this exam!”) and to replace them with calmer, more helpful thoughts.
An effective short-term fix to an attack of anxiety is practising deep breathing, which can help to slow your pulse and calm your mind to get you back in control.
You can also minimise exam anxiety by properly planning your revision. Breaking down your workload into bite size chunks and working through it methodically can stop it from feeling overwhelming.