Best Practice

Turning exam stress into a positive

Research shows that the way students perceive stress can have a dramatic effect on their performance at exam time. Karen Sullivan explains

Study after study points to the potential dangers of examination stress, with the NSPCC reporting a 200 per cent rise in requests for counselling and its ChildLine service receiving more than 34,000 approaches for help in this area in 2013/14 alone.

The ChildLine National Exam Stress Survey revealed that 96 per cent of the 1,300 students who completed their survey felt anxious about exams and revision, with 59 per cent feeling pressure from their parents to do well and 64 per cent saying they have never received any support in dealing with exams. 

Almost half of pupils say they have skipped meals, two thirds of those surveyed said they have had trouble sleeping and 14 per cent said they drank alcohol as a way of dealing with exam anxiety. This makes for worrying reading at the best of times, but even more so for a generation for whom mental health is at an all-time low.

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