Studying and taking exams can be stressful. Let’s face it – many of us have probably had difficulty sleeping, had fluctuations in eating patterns and mood changes during examination times. The pressure of retaining information and being able to draw on that information during an exam or assessment can create undue amounts of stress and anxiety, particularly for young people. With so much pressure to achieve a certain mark or score, it is not surprising that many students feel they are trapped in a system of ‘academic achievement = lifelong success’. Unfortunately, this common perception has contributed to the decline in mental health amongst teenagers and left many young people feeling an overwhelming sense of pressure.
Over the past two years in particular, there has been a lot of discussion surrounding the well-being of school students. Many schools have revised their student welfare policies and adopted a progressive approach to ensuring students ‘connect, succeed and thrive’. Whilst this is certainly a massive step in the right direction, the Higher School Certificate (HSC) exams, and lesser so, the National Assessment Program - Literacy And Numeracy (NAPLAN), are still based on a ‘snapshot’ of a student’s learning and education.
With the 2017 HSC written exams commencing on October 16th, Year 12 students will need the support of their families more than ever. Here are some ways you can help your teenager during the examination period:
- Provide healthy meals.
- Ensure adequate sleep and exercise.
- Encourage a healthy balance between work and leisure.
- Maintain a study space free from distractions.
- Highlight strengths and successes, focusing on effort rather than results.
- Understand they may be feeling extra-sensitive so try not to overreact.
- Encourage them to seek assistance from teachers or the school counsellor if they appear to be struggling.
As featured in: Glenmore Gazette & Emu + Leonay Gazette - September 2017
Sara Drebber is an educational consultant, teacher, writer and mother of three.