With the end-of-year examinations just around the corner for high school learners across the country, it is not uncommon for adolescents to talk more about feeling stressed or anxious during this time of the year. As we head into the final stages of the academic year, some high school learners may find themselves feeling motivated to wrap up the year, while others may feel extreme stress as exams approach.
Most of us think that stress is bad for us, but moderate amounts of stress have powerful benefits. In fact, moderate, short-lived stress can improve alertness, performance, and boost memory. Every individual will respond differently to stress. The same stressor may be manageable for one person but overwhelming to another — the key distinguisher here is our perception of stress. Research suggests that when we feel resilient and confident that we can manage our stress, we are less likely to be overwhelmed by it and more likely to have a healthy response to stress than people who think stress is bad. Not only are some levels of stress good for us and can help us achieve better, but stress is a normal physical response. Our stress response is designed to help us react when something potentially threatening happens, to help us deal with it and learn from it.
Is stress the enemy?
When we are able to stop viewing stress as the enemy and start to understand that our brains and bodies have a built-in system that wants to help us manage our stressors and respond effectively to them, we may be able to use stress to our advantage. It is our responsibility to identify our stressors and to learn to respond to them effectively. Once we can recognise our own stressors and stress response we can control our stress and our stress does not control us. Short-term stress can improve both our behaviours and cognition. It can help us meet our daily challenges and motivate us to reach our goals, ultimately making us more productive and healthier people.
Eliminating stressors in your child’s life during exam season is a key priority, it’s important to create a home and learning environment that offers structure, calmness and encouragement. Having a routine and eliminating factors that make your child anxious can bring them a sense of calmness and control.
Encourage them to follow these tips to help ease some of the anxiety they may be feeling during this time:
Create a schedule that is similar to their everyday school routine. Where they would’ve been in a class at a certain time, use that time to study.
Make sure they’re getting between 6-8 hours of sleep every night. Sleep impacts your mood, cognitive abilities and academic performance. It’s important to rest your brain!
Eating and Hydrating
Our bodies need fuel to keep going. Keep the energy up by eating regularly and staying hydrated with a glass of cool water.
Before the exam
Keep up the same daily routine the morning of the exam. The familiarity will keep their nerves settled. Ensure they’ve had a hearty meal before going to write, and have a bottle of water to stay hydrated.
When it comes to structured and encouraging learning environments, UCT Online High School prioritises this by putting its high school learners first. Their multi-layered support system gives high school learners all the encouragement, tools and support they need to master their destinies. Going through exam anxiety is normal for learners, but it doesn’t have to throw them off their game.
UCT Online High School’s incredible Support Coaches are there for your child, to motivate and encourage learning habits that make the difference. Put your child in the centre of their very own superhero movie and let them soar at UCT Online High School.
Applications for the 2023 academic year are open, you can apply here. Apply before 30 November 2022, and get 80% off your placement fee for the South African National Senior Certificate or Cambridge International curriculum.