Exam stress is the anxiety that comes with the prospect of having to deliver in the moment. Sitting an exam is quite daunting, and a challenge, but not necessarily negative.
Research by Professor Daniela Kaufer and Elizabeth Kirby (University of California – 2013) has uncovered exactly how acute and short-lived stress prepares the brain for improved performance. This type of stress is called Eustress, positive and helpful. Eustress helps students to perform in the moment, become stronger and more resilient.
An American study (Mendes, et al, 2010) was focussed on 50 college students coached to believe that nervousness and stress about them giving a presentation could improve performance. A control group didn’t get the coaching. Those who believed that nerves were positive not only performed better, but experienced fewer symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Exam stress – version 2
However, the exam stress that is felt for longer time, has a different source and a different impact. Parental pressure, fear of failure, anxiety about the future play a role in this type of stress.
The Childline National Exam Stress Survey revealed that 96 per cent of the 1,300 students who completed the 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.
Not eating and sleeping well, mood swings and physical symptoms as headaches and digestive issues are very common.
Students who suffer from type 2 stress need help, as suffering for a longer time will rule out the ability to experience the type 1 Eustress.
Help could come in different forms: coaching, counselling, medication or the self-help book How to stop exam stress, on how to take charge of your stress . Click here if you want to read a snippet of the content of the book.
Order the self help book via Paypal for £28.49 – this includes email support! as well.
Or read more about ‘How to stop exam stress’ on this page.
To read how I helped a student with my personal coaching for exam stress, click here (life coaching Surrey)
‘Mariette put together a one hour session for our year 11 students. Facing GCSE’s is a very stressful time and we thought they would benefit from learning ways to deal with stress. Mariette offered a range of easy and effective de-stressing techniques; some unusual but most students were able to feel very relaxed during their lesson. Feedback demonstrated that at least 95% of the students said they had learned something that would benefit their revision and their exam. They felt more confident and able to face the challenge of exams.’ Chris Smitheram Assistant Headteacher, Glebelands School, Cranleigh
To read more about research in an article written by Karen Sullivan, click here