Test and exam stress
Each year thousands of young people, some as young as 7, undergo tests and exams in school. Year 2 and 6 SATS, entrance exams, GCSEs. A levels and the IB all put pressure on children. Some rise to this pressure, take it in their stride and are able to shine. Others struggle with the pressure and expectations put on them by themselves and others. This stress can show itself in a number of ways. A young person may:
- worry a lot
- feel tense
- get lots of headaches and stomach pains
- not sleep well
- be irritable
- lose interest in food or eat more than normal
- not enjoy activities they previously enjoyed
- seem negative and low in their mood
- seem hopeless about the future
The consequences of not dealing with stress can be high. They can be seen in the way the young person thinks, feels and behaves. They may think that if they fail an exam their whole life is a failure, or that despite revising they don’t know anything or don’t understand what is being asked of them. They may suffer the physical symptoms of stress, such as tension, tight muscles and trembling and feel anxious and worried. This can lead to them behaving in ways that prevent them doing well, using poor study skills, avoiding work and procrastination over work.
The sum total of this is the child undeperforms and so reinforces the anxiety they feel. So much of a young person’s self worth is caught up in their educational achievement that it can spill over into other areas of their life.
How I can help your childHaving trained as a secondary school teacher, and with an enhanced DBS (formerly CRB) I work with older children on how to manage exam stress. During the session I would chat with them about what their worries and concerns were and how this was affecting them. I would then work with them to:
- review their existing revision techniques and discuss ways they could improve them,
- Help them create a revision plan, including opportunities to relax and destress
- teach them relaxation techniques they can use at anytime to deal with stress when it occurs
- Help them visualise success during hypnosis to help break any feelings or concerns of failure, and help them reach their potential.