Surviving study, exams and end of year stress

So the weather is heating up, the end of year exams are approaching – like a fast moving train – and you feel like exploding into a million pieces. Maybe you are feeling the pressure build to a point where you have anxiety, trouble sleeping, or become more moody. Or perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed and simply unable to focus. You could be experiencing end of year stress. Study, exams, the FUTURE, your social life and the state of the world at large are all competing for space in your mind and it is simply too much! 

Conquering exam stress: lessons from our bodies

Any or all of the above is completely normal. End of year stress is a real phenomenon that this year, thanks to COVID-19, will be amplified for many students. It is important to remember you are not alone and put in place some coping mechanisms to help you get through this. 

Tips for making it through end of year stress:

  • Ramp up the self-care by getting back to basics and looking after yourself physically with healthy food choices, good sleep and relaxation/exercise routines.
  • Organise your study space and build in study routines to stick to while also scheduling in some mini rewards for yourself when you achieve your study goals.
  • Make sure your study time is distraction free – turn off your notifications or leave your phone in another room, switch off the TV and let your family/friends know you are not to be disturbed.
  • Take the time to talk through your worries with a good listener be it a friend, mentor, parent or teacher. Just expressing your concerns out loud with others can bring you mental relief and guidance/support from those around you.
  • Consider where possible freeing yourself of other commitments such as work, sport, or parties so you have more time for studying, sleeping and relaxing.
  • Lay off the energy drinks, coffee or other stimulants as they are proven to increase agitation and decrease your ability to focus. Stick with water.
  • Be prepared on exam day with any necessary equipment, water and by focusing on your breath if any panic sets in. Allow plenty of time to arrive at the exam location in an unhurried manner. 

You will get through this! Be kind to yourself, apply the tips listed above and remember to breathe. Most importantly if any time you feel completely unable to cope do not be afraid to ask for help. There are many services that you can contact at any time to get assistance:

Discover more great resources to help you through.


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  • The Daily Boost: a motivation podcast breaks away from traditional norms, fits perfectly into your life, and stands by your side as you pursue your dreams.
  • Unstoppable teen: Kevin Mincher and his guests share ideas to help teenagers, parents and teachers experience more success and happiness.
  • Study Skills Handbook Podcast: Podcasts about study skills! These podcasts cover the skills secondary students need to be successful at school.

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On the web

Check out more info on the web  

  • Kids helpline: a great page on exam stress.
  • offer a list of 5 apps to help you study from screen time management, white noise, habit building to fitness. 
  • Headspace: have some great recommendations reducing stress and exam preparation.

How to cope with exam stress

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