As we move towards exam season, it is always worth looking at advice that can be given to students about how to cope with the stress of exams.

Testing and examinations are the biggest causes of stress for students at school. Regardless of how often young people are told ‘don’t get stressed’ or ‘try not to worry’ about exams, it is almost inevitable that the vast majority of students will do exactly that.

It’s equally ridiculous to pretend that there is no pressure. What students need is some sound advice and coping strategies to make the exam period more palatable and manageable.

Positivity rules

It’s a cliché, of course, but if you go into something with a negative attitude and an ‘I can’t do this’ mindset, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy that will end in failure.

Going into exams with a positive, ‘can do’ attitude is half the battle won.

It’s good to talk

It’s important that students feel that they can share their concerns and that they have somebody to talk to about stress of exams. Parents, teachers or peers – impress on them that there is always somebody they can turn to if they feel the need. No matter how worried they might feel, they will not be alone in feeling this way.

What’s the worst that can happen?

This perhaps shouldn’t be ‘over-egged’ too much but every single ‘worst case scenario’ that poor exam results can throw up does have a solution.

It might cost money, time, or mean a young person needs to move to Plan B – or Plan C – but there is an answer to everything. Exams are not life or death. If students believe that they are, that’s a massive burden of pressure being placed on young shoulders.

Do it for you, nobody else

Much of the pressure that students feel actually comes from others, such as parents and teachers. Although always well meaning, the pressure that adults put on students can really worsen the situation.

Students actually need to be quite self-centred. They need to realise that, whilst support is needed from others, ultimately success or failure is down to the individual. It is down to them. With this comes a responsibility, but it is important that a young person accepts this.

For most people, hard work does pay off. When all is said and done, most students get what they deserve with their exam results. However, stress of exams and failing to cope with the pressure can really stop that happening. In fact, it can have a catastrophic effect, so it is really important that students are mentally prepared to handle stress of exams.

Students will feel stressed. They will feel under pressure. Nerves, anxiety and worry are all perfectly natural and understandable emotions to experience. The trick is to know how to cope and how to manage when these feelings strike.