Posts Tagged ‘exam stress’

Preparing for exams, a letter to students

by  Michael Marinus, an early thirties  dad of Megan(3) and James(1) who also works as a Chiropractor in Joburg You’ll find him on twitter @mikemarinus or visit his blog

Dear Student.

When I think of all the exams I wrote whilst at school and during my university days, one recurring theme comes to mind. FEAR. It was my worst enemy during these stressful times and it is only recently that I came across some information about this ‘fear’ state of mind that I wish I had understood when I was in your position.

We all go through a certain amount of healthy anxiety when faced with an examination situation but it is how we deal with this emotion that ultimately decides the outcome. If we let it get the better of us, our chances of performing at our best become impossible. Fear is a state in which the brain changes gears and looks for excuses rather than opportunities. Let me explain.

When you are confronted with stressful situations and you allow yourself to be sucked down by negative emotions to the point of fear, a part of your nervous system activates something called the fight or flight response within you. This is your body’s way of dealing with fear and leaves you in a state where you are constantly agitated, the blood is flowing to the wrong bits of you and you cannot think clearly. This dulls the part of your brain that needs to be sharp when studying and makes it almost impossible to retain information in a way that it can be easily accessed during the actual exam.

Now, how do we make sure that we don’t end up in this position? Fear’s greatest enemies are preparation and confidence. The more you prepare, the more confident you will become in your ability, its that simple. For those of you who tend to worry and put off studying, make sure that a big part of your preparation is learning to calm yourself before trying to study. Half an hour spent putting yourself in the right mindset is a lot more beneficial than three hours spent in useless agitation in front of your books.

Cramming is not preparation. Believe me, I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work. Preparation needs to be a constant process that puts you into a routine as you approach the exam date. It is a proven medical fact that your brain needs time to absorb information and to truly have something sink in, you need to have encountered it at least 17 times during your preparation. This is why, as boring as it may be to go over and over your work, it is necessary if you want to be able to retrieve it when you are sitting in that room and its only you and your thoughts versus the questions.

Good luck to you all, take your time to think about what they are asking and most importantly don’t rush to be the first one to finish. Look over the paper to check you haven’t missed anything and you’ll be just fine.

Eliminate the effects of exam stress before they eliminate your kids

By Freda Paxinos, an  educator and  authority on the use of dietary supplements in the effective treatment of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder) in children. Read her blog

End of year exams are a very stressful time for pupils, students, and parents alike.

We all know this, but did you know that when we are stressed out, cells in our bodies can be damaged or even die? When we are uptight, our cells need more blood sugar than normal, to prepare the body to fight or flee! The adrenal glands release hormones that break down body proteins and convert them to sugar.  In addition, minerals are released from our bones, fat is mobilised and salt is retained.

If stress is prolonged, and our bodies don’t have sufficient nutrients to counteract the effects, glands can be destroyed. Usually, the first glands to be damaged are the lymph glands, which are essential for the production of antibodies. The adrenal hormones will then break down protein cells from the liver, kidneys and stomach and this is how stress precipitates disease.

However, if our bodies are being supplied with the essential nutrients needed to replace proteins, calcium etc, glands and organs will immediately be rebuilt. So, whilst we cannot eliminate stress, we can ensure that it doesn’t do irreparable damage to our bodies!

Since stress is rife in our lives, regardless of whether we are young or old, working or at school, health experts worldwide have predicted that stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia may be the biggest wellness issues facing us in the 21st Century.

So, what can we do to ensure that stress doesn’t kill us?

  • Firstly, we have to make time for ourselves! Everyone needs quiet time, time to think, time to meditate, time to engage in prayer, and time to put our lives into perspective.
  • By the same token, we need to make time to interact with people we love, people who care for us and provide the support we need to carry us through rough periods in our lives.
  • Daily exercise is critical and a good work out or even a short walk, will make us feel more relaxed and less stressed out.
  • Eating balanced meals, avoiding greasy junk food, and ensuring that our bodies are getting the nutrients we need is crucial.
  • And, of course,  getting sufficient sleep is vital to good health.
  • Having said all that, obviously, we can’t always do what we know we should be doing to manage our stress levels. There are, however, many stress beating supplements that will boost your nutritional defences and eliminate the harmful effects of stress.

    As a Biology teacher, I have first hand knowledge of what stress can do to our kids, so please feel free to contact me if you would like any advice in this regard.