Young person’s guide to managing stress at exam time

More young Australians than ever before are experiencing mental ill-health, so ahead of Term 3, headspace is sharing top tips from young people and mental health professionals on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during the potentially stressful school exam season.

Almost 40% of young people now report the experience of mental ill-health[1], many of whom are school students about to sit their end-of-year exams.

headspace knows this is a time of added pressure for many young people, and wants to share with them and their families tried and tested ways to reduce stress in the lead-up to exams.

1. ‘Run your own race’

headspace Youth National Reference Group member Gerard-Lachlan Abadines, 17, is currently preparing for his Year 12 exams and says it’s important to “run your own race” at exam time.

“Hearing about how much studying everyone else is doing, or how everyone thought an exam went, can cause me to doubt myself,” the Western Sydney resident said.

“But it’s important to focus on running your own race and looking after yourself.”

2. Prepare for success

Gerard says it’s especially important for people experiencing mental ill-health not to leave exam preparations until the last minute.

“Trial exams helped me gain confidence that I will get through it, and the results gave me direction on what else I need to do to succeed,” Gerard said.

“I also find studying with friends helpful. It helps build support systems and keeps me accountable. It reminds me that I’m not alone in the process.

“As a young person living with mental ill-health, I’ve also tried to make time with my mental health professional to check-in during exam season, so we can talk about how I’m going and the sorts of supports I might need.”

3. Take time out from study

headspace also advises young people plan time away from studying to do things that make them feel happy and healthy.

“I like to carve out a few hours a day, or even a full day once a week, to do something with friends and family that doesn’t involve study. This time really helps alleviate some of the pressures that can build up.

“I also know I can turn to a trusted teacher, family member or friend when I need more support, or even visit headspace.”

4. On the day of the exam

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