You’re not the only one. Thousands of adolescents are feeling the same way, especially as the exams get closer. But feeling stressed can be a good sign, it means that you care about how your exams go and a bit of stress keeps you motivated to work hard to perform as well as you can.
It’s keeping it in check that’s important. Too much stress or worry can lead to sleep difficulties, poor concentration and memory and clearly that’s not going to help.
So, how can you find the right balance?
- Be positive: You can only do the best you can do. Remember that you will be okay regardless of the ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank) you end up with. There are many opportunities and possibilities out there for you to discover.
- Be organised: Use your time wisely by writing a study plan for each day. Be realistic with the amount of time you plan to spend studying. Trying to do too much at once won’t be effective or productive.
- Take breaks: Most people need a break every 30 minutes to keep focused. A short walk or chat with someone will be time well spent if it allows you to concentrate during the times when your work is in front of you.
- Do some exercise: Being active is as good for your brain as it is for your body during exam time. Not only providing a break, it gives you space to think and relax.
- Get plenty of sleep: A good night time routine which includes switching off all your screens is vital. Going to bed at a reasonable hour will enable you to get the rest you need. Tiredness and fatigue can worsen anxiety and will increase your stress level.
- Avoid caffeine and other substances: Coffee, energy drinks and anything else containing the ingredient guarana are not helpful. Actually, they can make exam time more difficult by increasing anxiety and sleep problems. They can even land you in hospital if you have too much.
- Get help: If you feel that things are getting out of control or you are not coping there are many people that can help. For some teenagers this might mean talking to mum or dad, an older sister, brother, teacher or friend. If you need to you can also speak to your local doctor or call Kids Help Line on 1800 55 1800. They can chat any time of the day or night and can direct you to the most appropriate care.
Best of luck. We wish you well!