How to Deal with Exam Stress Using Breathing
If your child is anxious about taking exams, The Global Classroom has some useful tips to help them to deal with this.Being able to cope with exam stress will enable children to reach their full potential. The Global Classroom is sharing advice to help students learn how to incorporate positive strategies into their revision timetables to reduce anxiety.
Coping with exam stress using deep breathing
Deep breathing is one of our top tips to reduce stress during exams. If your child is wondering how to deal with exam stress, then this is the perfect answer. Deep breathing can be used during the revision process itself, as well as immediately before – and even during – an exam.
This is a great technique if your child needs to refocus during an exam or revision session. When we focus on our breathing, we clear our mind of any alternative distractions or thoughts. As a result, our attention can be diverted back to the task at hand without any additional noisy thoughts.
To access a range of breathing techniques that can improve concentration and focus, visit our blog article that explores deep breathing for concentration.
When we use deep breathing techniques, we are stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the part of the body that is responsible for rest and digestion. It also controls feelings of rest and relaxation. The parasympathetic nervous system works to reduce our heart rate, reducing feelings of overwhelm and tension. As a result, exam stress decreases.
If your child is looking to build breathing techniques into their daily routine, take the time to read our Top 5 Breathing Techniques for Children. For more information about the benefits of breathing techniques, explore our seventh classroom – Deep Breath – featuring a host of celebrity experts, including Jason Mraz and James Nestor.
Additional techniques to deal with exam stress
If your child knows an important exam is on the horizon, they may begin to panic during the revision period. To manage these emotional responses, it’s critical that your child incorporates stress-relieving tips into their revision timetable.
Alongside deep breathing, The Global Classroom’s additional tips include:
- Recognising small achievements
- Taking 20-minute breaks
- Using breaks wisely
- Going outdoors
- Being active
Recognising small achievements
One of the primary causes of exam stress can be a sense of overwhelm. The thought of learning and retaining large volumes of information can be intimidating when it’s thought of as one large chunk.
One of our best tips for your child to use when they’re learning how to deal with exam stress is making lists. They should write all of the different tasks into segmented lists. They should then tick off each section once they’ve completed the relevant revision.
By doing this, your child should experience an increased sense of accomplishment, which is beneficial when coping with exam stress.
Taking 20-minute breaks
Encourage your child to employ the 40:20 working pattern. After working for approximately 40 minutes, they should take a 20-minute break. This prevents exhaustion and burnout. If they’re revising using laptops and other screens then this will also limit eye strain and headaches.
Using breaks wisely
Revision breaks are most effective when they’re taken away from the workspace. This could be moving to a different part of the room or going for a walk (see our next two tips). Your child may wish to use breaks for motivation. For instance, perhaps they could watch a new Netflix show or enjoy a snack during these breaks as a reward.
With an important exam looming, it can be tempting for your child to spend all of their time indoors with their notes and their laptop. During revision breaks, evenings and weekends, The Global Classroom recommends that your child should venture outside and enjoy some fresh air.
Whilst this is important for mental wellbeing, studies have proven that spending 20 minutes in the open air also provides a similar boost of energy that you would feel after a cup of coffee. So stepping outdoors will increase productivity and awareness during revision too.
One of the best ways for your child to cope with exam stress, whilst simultaneously improving their study technique, is exercise. When we exercise, our body increases the volume of natural endorphins released in our brain. This leads to improved moods, allowing us to approach revision with a positive mindset. In addition, recent research from Harvard University has proven that exercise actually alters the brain, which causes improved memory skills. Therefore, exercising can actually improve your memory skills during your revision sessions, helping you to digest and process more information.
When we exercise, our body reduces insulin resistance and reduces inflammation. It also simultaneously stimulates chemicals in the brain that affect the health of our brain cells. Plus, physical activity improves mood and sleep too.
If your child’s mood and sleep patterns are healthy, they’ll be able to focus better. Insomnia and bad moods can lead to cognitive impairment and affect your child’s ability to retain information. Both of these improvements should lead to a reduction in exam stress.
Learning how to deal with exam stress can be a real struggle. Once your child incorporates these tips to reduce stress during exam periods, they’ll be much happier and ready to reach their full potential.