With exam season upon us, many young people are experiencing teenage exam anxiety. And understandably so. As a teacher you want to support them to handle these feelings, so that they are able to apply themselves in the revision period, and focus in the exams. So they are in the best position to achieve the results that are right for them.
Here are three ideas to support students to handle their teenage exam anxiety so they can study well:
1.Focusing on the now
Many students have shared with me how worried they are about whether they will get the GCSE results they need to study their choice of A-levels, or the A-level grades they need for their further education, apprenticeship, job of choice.
This worry can be so distracting for them.
I encourage students 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.
2.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 vice versa. So 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.
3.Mindfulness to quieten minds
Mindfulness is all about bringing our attention to something specific, enabling us to calm our minds. 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 free mindfulness handout please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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