It's that time of year where there is the added pressure of exams for many family and friends.  We are now in exam season, and with it comes the additional pressure and stress that can affect those taking exams as well as their family and friends.

Thankfully, there is a lot of advice and support available to help us all through the next few months.  So if you or a family​ member is taking exams over the next few months, whether it be SATs, year-end exams, GCSEs, A Levels or Degree or other qualification, this may be of some help to get the exam versus life balance right.

A little bit of pressure can be a good thing as it can motivate us to knuckle down and work hard.  However, too much pressure without a way of coping with it can lead to stress.  Exams can make stress levels get out of hand, which can stop us from performing at our best, so it is important to address it and get it back under control. 

There are many websites that offer helpful advice as to how to keep exam stress under control and keep everything in perspective for example: www.childline.org.uknhs.uk and bbc.co.uk.  It may also be helpful to speak to teachers or tutors to see if they have any tips or advice to help ease the pressure.  

Some of the warning signs to look out for are;

  • Feeling tense
  • Getting headaches and stomach pains
  • Not sleeping well
  • Being irritable
  • Loss of interest in food or eating more than usual
  • Not enjoying activities previously enjoyed
  • Being negative and in a low mood
  • Feeling hopeless about the future

Some of the ways we can help ease exam stress are as follows;

  • Having somebody to talk to – Whether this be a teacher, friend or member of the family having somebody to share troubles and worries with is always helpful
  • Eat properly – This is not always that easy, but having a balanced diet helps keep us healthy and able to function at our best
  • Get enough sleep – The average teenager needs nine hours sleep a night
  • Take regular breaks – It is suggested that we can only concentrate properly for 45 minutes at a time.  Taking regular breaks whilst revising helps stay refreshed and focused
  • Get some exercise – Regular exercise helps reduce tension, it also releases natural feel good chemicals in the body
  • Relaxation – Try some relaxation techniques like breathing deeply in and out for a couple of minutes. 

These are just a few simple tips that might help you through the exam season, but it is really important for us to all remember that this can be a really difficult period of time for many students and their families.  If you, or somebody you know is struggling, please do seek as bottling it up can be harmful to their physical and mental well-being.​