My boy is preparing for exams. At least that is what I am hoping he is doing but sometimes I have my reservations. While I am going about the usual household chores he is sitting at the kitchen table wired to the latest techno sounds and moving in motion behind an untidy pile of books. Every now and then he stops to scribbles something on the side of a page. Some time later he pops out the earplugs and hands me his page of hand written notes. It is a list of biblical stories. “Right Ma, call out each title and I will tell you about…” and he does, every single time.

Handing back the page I tell him he is doing great work. He doesn’t answer but I know he is pleased with himself. He has only to refresh his memory on two stories out of twenty. He pops his earplugs back in again turns up the volume and hangs his head over his books again. I have no idea how he retains anything as he bops away to music but thats his way.

My way was locking myself up for two hours in complete silence and trying to ignore the blistering sunshine that tortured me through the bedroom window. I used it as my reward. When I get x and y finished I will get fifteen minutes sunshine. Truth be told I usually stole an extra fifteen minutes—the  unfairness of it all nearly killed my focus at times—before I gathered myself up and reluctantly trail back to the bedroom with the promise of sunshine after another two hours hard slog!

My heart goes out to everyone studying at this time (especially if the sun is shining) so to motivate you (or someone you know) here is the condensed version of some general exam stess-busting tips taken from the website.

  • Believe in yourself! You can do it!
  • Give it your best shot. Set yourself goals, targets and aim for them.
  • Follow a study routine to reduce pre-exam stress and avoid last minute cramming.
  • Take a break to help concentration.
  • Talk to a friend relative or parent if you are feeling overwhelmed.
  • Drink plenty of water. The brain needs water to function properly.
  • Eat some ‘superfoods’…berries, bananas, oily fish, nuts and broccoli.
  • Take some exercise to clear the mind and help reduce any feelings of stress.
  • Get to bed at regular times to restore energy levels & brain function.

Of course this is a bunch of ideal rules and I’m not too sure if I followed them all—I think my ‘superfood’ was

chocolate (Sssh, don’t tell anyone) and my boy’s music is never off !  He seems to be doing ok and he is taking this

study lark in his stride which is better than stressing about it.

Too many students fall victim to the effects of the undue stress around exam time. Yes, it is a very important time of

your life. Yes… you should absolutely set you mind to doing your best. However, keep things in balance. Life does go

on after the exams. Think of the exams as a stepping stone, getting you from where you are now to where it is you

want to go…your next stepping stone. What you do next does not have to be a commitment for life. As you grow &

mature other interests may come your way which you can then pursuit for your happiness and hopefully there will be

plenty of sunshine to enjoy too. Good Luck with your studies!