How students are managing the stress of exams

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Exams are a daunting tidal wave.

With the testing expeditiously approaching, it’s no wonder that students’ stress levels are increasing as each day passes by.

Sophomore Jaelynn Carlson, who, for a long time now, has had a purely despicable relationship with her exams, is starting to see the testing in a more positive light thanks to the push of exams to the week prior to Winter Break.

“I usually hated exams,” Jaelynn admits, “but now, since break is just around the corner, I just have to keep pushing through and stay strong; however, I still need to take some time to relax.”

Responsibly managing time is, more often than not, incredibly difficult for high schoolers. From social networking, to sports, and even to social life, students are continually distracted and can find it difficult to keep in mind the significance of staying organized and on-track. 

When the Winter Break is given before exams, many find the simmering thought of the upcoming testing to cause feelings such as anxiety, and students may also find it difficult to really focus on their studying materials and have the potential to heighten their procrastination. But Jaelynn also believes that the moving of midterms may be the cause for stress in some students as well.

“Yes, I believe that [the updated schedule has made exams] less stressful,” Jaelynn said, “but also more stressful at the same time. We are just cramming so much in, although, at the same time, the break was a nice time period to just destress, relax, and have a little fun [before exams]. It is both a negative and a positive.”

Among the usual sources of stress, a handful of students have even more added pressures come exam time; some students have to deal with conditions such as an array of mental illnesses or profound amounts of pressure from family members, sports teams, and possibly even friends. 

Sophomore Liz Roub finds it especially difficult to study—she suffers from ADHD.   

“[ADHD causes problems for me] during actual studying, rather than the actual test-taking,” Liz said. “Usually, when I am taking the exam, I am extremely focused—hyperactivity focused—on that one specific question or problem: it’s all that I see. But for studying, I am always getting distracted because there is always going to be something around to take me away from my work.”

Getting a prosperous night’s rest is not the only key to keeping a clear and level head during stressful periods: sometimes indignant emotions can only be worked out by indulging in your favorite activities.”

Along with this, Liz likes to assure that she is attaining more sleep than she would on a regular school-night basis. Work ethic is another area in which many students, including Liz, struggle to find balance in—she finds that obtaining a proper night’s sleep can sometimes lead her to believe that she is unprepared—as if she has given up precious studying time in turn for one of the body’s most basic necessities. 

“I almost always feel as if I am never prepared enough or [have] studied enough [for exams],” Liz said. “It is extremely difficult to work on everything when your brain is so stressed out. It does make it easier [to prepare when teachers give students time in class to work].”

Getting a prosperous night’s rest is not the only key to keeping a clear and level head during stressful periods: sometimes indignant emotions can only be worked out by indulging in your favorite activities.

Staying on task can be a harrowing challenge for preoccupied teens. It is often very facile to lose track of the specifics when students are tossed into the deep end of the academic pool—it’s overwhelming.”

For sophomore Madi Weaver, destressing all comes down to having an artistic outlet: dance.

“Currently, I am a solo dancer, and I get to really take the time to dance whenever I feel like it,” Madi said, “I also take adult classes. [I really try to focus on dance] mainly during exam week or the week before.”

Staying on task can be a harrowing challenge for preoccupied teens. It is often very facile to lose track of the specifics when students are tossed into the deep end of the academic pool—it’s overwhelming. From packets, to quizlets, and even to practice exams, it can be hard to keep track of the big picture; it also makes it easier to fall behind.

Madi has a routine that helps her to keep her head above water, even in as rough of currents brought on by a monsoon of exam reviews and study guides.

“I like to set goals for myself, for example, reading a paragraph in a certain amount of time,” Madi shared. “I also enjoy making lists so I can say, ‘next I am going to do English’; then, I will look through that study guide—I do this for all of my other subjects as well. For me, it is important to remember that, in the future, there is a break, and I don’t need to study for hours on end.”