Are we doing enough to support students through exam season?

Along with endless hours of studying, stacks of note cards and memorising revision guides,there comes a whole pile of continuous and unnecessary stress that students have to face during exam season. Students, especially those sitting their GCSE and A level examinations often find themselves suffering from stress which is caused by an increase in the hormone, cortisol in the blood.

Although stress is a natural side effect to studying for vital exams, we shouldn’t take the issue so lightly. Oftentimes, the stress takes over the motivation and will to revise and instead, students will find themselves worrying about negative outcomes rather than coming up with solutions to tackle their problems. Hundreds of students find themselves suffering from mental health disorders such an anxiety around exam season and oftentimes, schools remain unaware of these issues or aren’t able to provide the necessary counselling services. Even the word ‘counselling’ itself holds taboo connotations as it is often related to therapy or seeing a psychiatrist which can seem very scary. But, talking to a professional regarding stress levels or any other problems during exam season is extremely helpful because they can provide step by step solutions to overcoming such issues.

Studies have shown that the most common and efficient way to overcome stress and reduce anxiety is to use the CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) method. This is a type of talking therapy that is often carried out between a trained professional and an individual. It includes a series of different activities and tasks which aims to break down built up negative thoughts into smaller, manageable tasks. For example, in a CBT session during counselling, you may be asked to explain a circumstance that has been bothering you, rate it out of ten in terms of how stressful the event makes you feel and then assess the situation and rate it once again. The idea behind this is to see if there is a difference in emotions once the situation has been assessed and there is usually a decrease in the second rating. One way students can do this on their own at home is by writing up the answers to these simple prompts:

Event:

Automatic Negative Thought:

Evidence to support the thought:

Immediate Emotional Response:

Evidence that does not support the thought:

Alternative thought:

New Emotional Response:

Bear in mind that this is just one activity out of many which can help break down stressful scenarios. However, at Bright Young Things, we are not only determined to help students with their academic success but also aid their mental health and well being. If your child is suffering from low moods or a lack of motivation, please don’t hesitate to contact our centres for support. Alternatively, your child can also talk to their tutor who will provide professional and friendly advice. Of course we also understand that talking to someone face to face can be intimidating so another way to get support is by emailing us at [email protected] and we will get back to you shortly.