A Young Man's Guide to Exam Time Stress Management - And What We Can All Do To Support Them

A Young Man’s Guide to Exam Time Stress Management – And What We Can All Do To Support Them

More young Australians suffer from mental ill health than ever before, so ahead of Term 3, headspace shares top tips from young people and mental health professionals on how to take care of your mental health and well-being during potentially stressful school exam season.

Nearly 40% of young people now report experiencing mental ill health[1]Many of them are school students about to take end-of-year exams.

headspace knows this is an extra stressful time for many young people, and wants to share with them and their families tried and tested ways to reduce stress in the run-up to exams.

1. “Run your own race”

Gerard Lachlan-Abadins, 17-year-old member of the headspace national youth reference group, is currently preparing for his Year 12 exams and says it’s important to “make your own race” at exam time.

“Hearing how much other people study, or how everyone thinks the exam has gone, can make me doubt myself,” said one western Sydney resident.

“But it’s important to focus on running your own race and taking care of yourself.”

2. Prepare for success

It’s especially important for people with mental ill health not to leave test preparations until the last minute, Gerrard says.

“The pilot tests helped me gain confidence that I would pass it, and the results gave me direction on other things I needed to do to succeed,” Gerrard said.

“I also find studying with friends helpful. It helps build support systems and makes me accountable. It reminds me that I’m not alone in the process.”

“As a young man with mental ill health, I also tried to make time with my mental health professional to check in during exam season, so we could talk about how I’m going and what kinds of support I might need.”

3. Take some time to study

headspace also advises young people to plan time away from school to do things that make them feel happy and healthy.

“I like to take a few hours a day, or even a whole day once a week, to do something with friends and family that doesn’t involve studying. This time it really helps relieve some of the stress that can build up.”

“I also know that I can turn to a trusted teacher, family member, or friend when I need more support, or even a headspace visit.”

4. Exam day

Follow your usual routine. Eat a nutritious breakfast and try to calm your mind.

“I try to avoid the craziness of exam day by setting aside some space between myself and my classmates. Sometimes, being in a large group of people who are nervous about an exam makes me nervous and loses focus,” says Gerard. So”.

5. You are more than your exam score

It’s important for young people to remember that exam scores are not a measure of their relevance, says Carolyn Watts, headspace’s director of career programs.

“Exam results do not determine your future. Even if you do not do what you want to, you have a lot to offer and you will continue to enjoy a happy and successful life after school.

“headspace is not only here to provide mental health support, but we can also help plan for the future through our work and study programs,” says Ms Watts.

Headspace Work and Study supports young people to prepare for the future, connecting them with employers and further education providers, and by developing skills such as CV writing, job search and interviewing.

“Headspace Work and Study provides personalized support with a specialist either over the phone, online via web chat, video conferencing, or in person at designated headspace centers. The service aims to develop the skills, abilities, and confidence of young people to help them on the path to reaching their work and study goals,” she says. Mrs. Watts.

6. Support the guy during exam season

Young people’s families and friends play an important role in providing this reassurance and perspective.

“Help your young son maintain a balanced lifestyle that includes activities to provide a healthy headspace: staying active, getting a good night’s sleep, and maintaining social connections.

“If you are a parent or caregiver, check with your youngster to see how he or she is feeling.

“Listen to them without judgment, and if you find that they are feeling tired or irritable, or if you notice changes in their appetite and sleep patterns, these are signs that they may need more support,” Watts says.

For more tips on how to manage exam stress, please visit: https://headspace.org.au/explore-topics/for-young-people/prepare-for-exams/

You can also find more information about the headspace work-study program here: https://headspace.org.au/services/work-and-study-support/

headspace strongly encourages any young person, family member, or friend who needs support to a local headspace center or telephone outreach and eheadspace online counseling service. eheadspace is available seven days a week between 9am-1am (AEST) at 1800650890 or at headspace.org.au/eheadspace.

If you need to talk to someone right away, the Lifeline (13 11 14) and the Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) are available to talk 24/7.

[1] National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing 2020-21, Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2022

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