Teen Angst

Helping adolescents deal with anger and other emotions effectively

Dealing with Exam Stress

Exam time - breathe a sigh of relief, you're almost there...

Ahh, May…that time of year where students are dreaming about a much-awaited summer vacation and a much, much-needed break from school. While May is symbolic of closure in the academic world, it is also a time that can be marked with a lot of stress. Exams can cause a lot of undue stress and anxiety, making the lives of teens and those living with them miserable.

So, as a teen, what can you do to prepare for this stressful time in your life? Below are five tips to help you conquer and endure all while you "stay calm and carry on..."

The top five tips for exam preparation...

1. Get organized. Take good notes, keep important due dates on your calendar, set phone or electronic reminders of important events, and know where your materials are. Take time to organize your time. Break big tasks into mini-pieces. Preparing a little everyday will help you keep from pulling an over-night cram session. Organization is an easy way to simplify your life; not to mention it's a great starting place.

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2. Make a game plan. Plan out a time each day to study, even if you don't have an assignment due. By being one step ahead, you'll be better prepared and feel more in control.

3. Put a little "me" time into your day. Take a break and play, you deserve it...Be sure to take mini-breaks. Don't force yourself to sit for long periods of time. Go for a power walk or a run, hit the gym, or clean your room. Once you've studied an hour, get up and move. Whatever activity you choose to do...have fun!

4. Take care of your body, it's the only one you'll ever have... It's not uncommon to get the munchies when stressed out. Keep your pantry stocked with quick, healthy choices. Remember food is the fuel your body uses to keep you going. If you put bad fuel in a car, it won't run right. The same analogy is true for your body—the purer the fuel, the better you'll do. Also, your body needs rest. It is not a 24-hour convenience store; it needs to be closed to restock itself...You need to sleep and replenish your body. You'll perform much better if you do. So, healthy eating and getting 7-9 hours of sleep is really important during this stressful time of your life.

5. Be creative! Okay, you may not get to spend a lot of time with your friends so include them in what you have going on or vice versa. For instance, if you both have the same class, meet at a cafe and form a study group. You could also invite your friend to shoot some hoops with you or to a yoga class. Get creative with your time. Who knows, you may be able to accomplish two things at once!

By following these simple tips you can be a good student, decrease stress, have fun, and more importantly, find the right balance. Good luck on your exams!

Raychelle Cassada Lohmann, M.S., L.P.C., is the author of The Anger Workbook for Teens.

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