With the exam season fast approaching, AMH MensSana is offering young people and families support and tips on getting prepared and learning to recognise and deal with exam stress.
There can be a lot of pressure on you to do well in exams and this can often leave you feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. Sometimes the demands to do well at school can be brought on by yourself or it can be caused by people around you. Feeling anxious at such times is understandable, but some young people the pressure they feel can become too much to cope with. In this article, AMH MensSana will discuss some useful tips to help you overcome the feelings you may have about your exams.
When we feel stressed, scared or nervous our body responds by releasing stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones cause increases in heart rate, muscle tightening, blood pressure and breath quickening. These physical changes increase your stamina and make you more alert preparing you to either fight or flee from the situation you face.
Experiencing these physical changes before and during an exam is normal and sometimes they can actually make us feel motivated to achieve, more alert, confident and enthusiastic. Stress, however, becomes a problem with it begins to make us feel tense, nervous, anxious, aggressive and panic-stricken. If severe or prolonged, stress can impair concentration and performance.
Symptoms of excessive stress include:
If you can relate to any of these feelings, it is important to seek support as soon as possible. There are a number of services which AMH MensSana can sign-post you to that offer help and advice or you may find support from friends, family or someone at school – it doesn’t matter who, but it is important to speak to someone.
You can also help yourself to minimise the stress caused by exams:
On the day of the exam:
Young people will find stress much easier to deal with if they receive support from those around them. As a parent/guardian you can help and support a young person by:
Getting you exam results can be a worrying time. It can seem like your future depends on what you get. Receiving disappointing results can feel like the end of the world, but it is important to remember that people’s strengths and weaknesses lie in different areas and not everyone performs at their best under exam conditions. The results you have received or the decisions you have made now, or in the past do not have to define what you do or who you are in the future. You have more options and opportunities to succeed in the future than you may think.
If you are finding the pressures of exams difficult to cope with, talk to someone about how you are feeling. Asking for help can be difficult – maybe you are worried about what others will think of you. Many people, however, will be able to relate to what you are going through and may offer suggestions that you would not have thought of yourself. You could speak to your teachers and they should be able to help you plan your revision and feel better about what you have to do. It is also a good idea to talk to your friends and family about your feelings as they can help support you while you are feeling worried.
Asking for help is a good thing to do, but can be scary. You may prefer to speak to someone you don’t know, like a counsellor, who is specially trained to help people in exactly your situation. Your GP can put you in touch with services like this and may also prescribe medication, if appropriate, to reduce your feelings of stress and anxiety.
For further information on local organisations and sources of support, contact AMH MensSana on 02838392314 or check out their website www.menssanaproject.org.uk