With exam season nearly upon us, here are three approaches you can use to support students to handle their exam anxiety so they can study well.

Focusing on the now
Many students tell me how worried they are about whether they will get the A-level grades they need for their uni of choice. This worry can be so distracting for them. I support them to focus on the now, reflect on what they need to do to enable them to study well, and concentrate on these positive habits. Afterall the “now” is actually all they can control.

Our bodies can lead our minds out of anxiety
Feeling anxious or relaxed are two sides of same coin; if you are feeling anxious you’re not relaxed and vica versa. If we can move into a relaxed state, our anxiety ebbs away. And our bodies can lead our minds into feeling relaxed. The easiest way to do this is by doing something physical with our bodies.

Encourage your students to have a range of quick physical distractions they can use when they are revising at home, but are struggling with their anxiety. Ideas include doing star jumps, putting music on and dancing round their room, or fast jogging on the spot. Whatever works for them! Through this physical distraction our bodies become relaxed which leads our minds to be relaxed, and our anxiety reduces, enabling us to return to focused study.

Mindfulness to quieten minds
Mindfulness is all about bringing our attention to something specific, calming our mind. It has a key role to play in enabling students to manage their anxiety. Particularly students who are worrying about their results, as it supports them to focus on the “now”.

I particularly like the mindfulness practice of body scanning. Taking only taking a few minutes, it’s useful to quieten the mind before a revision session, or to relax before going to bed.  If you would like to receive our Mindfulness handout please email us here

These approaches and further strategies to develop a positive mindset and reduce exam anxiety are included in the Mindset strategies for A-level success programmeMindset Strategies for A-level Success for years 12 / 13 students. To find out more about this programme, please contact us.