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STRESSED OUT! Navigating the Exam Period for Juniors!

The Exam period can be a stressful time for youngsters! Checkout some of our Tips on managing stress & workload during this period, and how Squash / Sport is a vital part of helping Juniors to succeed!

Students taking exams

Agree or disagree, exams are a big part of School life; that's a different discussion!

Whether it's Year 6 SATs, GCSE's or A-Levels, it's a time of a young person's life that can unnecessarily make them anxious and stressed out. It's preposterous to expect children and teens, even young adults, to know what they want to do when they get older; in turn influencing the subjects they take and inferring that the grades in these subjects will have a lasting impact on their future for the rest of their lives.

Don't get me wrong, it is important to work hard in school and revise for exams. Grades have an impact on Uni placements, and in a competitive job market, good grades help prospective employers' choice the right candidate for the job.

"For a fair selection everybody has to take the same exam...please climb that tree"

Some thrive in exams; however others might struggle and it is important to remember that everyone is different; they have their own skills, strengths & weaknesses.

Whatever happens in these exams, it's important for kids to remember that they don't shape them as a person and life is more than grades on a page!

Those that can score highly on an academic test, aren't always best suited to a job later in life! Just like some of the most successful people in their respective fields, didn't always have the best grades in school!

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." - Albert Einstein

What I'm trying to say is, although it's important to work hard and revise for exams, kids shouldn't excessively worry about the outcome. Below are a few tips and things to remember when it comes to exams, stress and time management during this period.

Tip #1 - Keep Playing Squash/Sport!

Why Sport & Exercise are important during Exams

There is a common misconception that things like Sports or other extracurricular activities, are a distraction from exams and should be halted during this period.

By all means, for some extremely active kids, there might need to be a slight curtailing of the volume of these activities!

However, a German Study in 2013 showed a clear link between physical exercise and improved memory. Furthermore, countless other studies have shown that kids who remain physically active during their exam period score between 13-20% higher on exams in core subjects than those that don't!

As seen, there are a number of reasons kids should remain active! I'm not saying ditch the books and spend hours on court! This alone won't help exam grades (although they would get very good at Squash!), there still needs to be a good amount of revision that needs to be done.

If nothing else, I highly recommend that children continue to play Sport during exams! (It doesn't have to be Squash, but I hope it would be!) The great thing about Squash is that you can have a great total body workout in as little as 40-minutes, which is no time at all in the grand scheme of things. All you need is someone to play against.

Remaining active and taking a break from revising, is a great way to de-stress and gives kids a sense of normality in a very stressful period! Looking at all the positives listed above, what is likely to have a better impact on a Juniors exam grades: An extra hour of Squash per week or an extra hour revising?

Tip #2 - Get Good at Time Management!

Modern life is an exercise in Time Management! Work, kids, sports, social life, family...the list goes on!

We all have a limited number of hours in a week. For kids taking exams, a big proportion of this goes towards revising for those exams. However, as seen above, it is important to include time to de-stress, have fun and unwind. This is where it helps to be good at managing time effectively!

Here are 5 good tips to help with time management:

Top 5 Tips for Time Management

Tip #3 - Talk!

Talking & Sharing Ideas

Stressed out? Worried about a subject? Need advice?

This is a tip for life, not just exams! It is important kids understand that they can speak to parents, teachers and friends about their problems.

They might or might not have the answers, but they can definitely relieve the burden and reassure them that everything will be ok. There are people out there willing to help!

Tip #4 - Practice, Practice, Practice!

It's one thing to spend a lot of time revising, but all that knowledge isn't very helpful if it can't be applied in exams!

Taking exams is a Skill. Like other skills they need to be practiced in order to get better at. And it's not just practicing how to answer the questions on a paper, it's also practicing the pressure of finishing in the correct amount of time and sitting in silence with no distractions for the entire exam.

Just like when learning to play Squash, if you don't practice under the same conditions you'll face in a Match, then you won't perform at your best when it counts.

Take a holistic approach to exam preparations, which includes revising, practice papers, taking regular breaks and keeping active with Sport and exercise. If they can have a well-rounded schedule, they can put themselves in the best position going into their exams!

Tip #5 - Life is More Than Letters on a Page!

Whatever the outcome of these exams, it's important to remember that each and every person is more than their grades! Each has their own strengths that will help them towards their goals in later life.

Job Interview

When it comes to GCSE's, they might need a certain level to do a specific college course, and jobs might require a minimum grade. After that, from experience, employers are far more interested in previous experiences than exam grades, and how you come across as a person that will or will not fit into their company/business.

In these circumstances it's important to sell themselves as a person and how you can be a positive influence on the business. If they can demonstrate they are willing to work hard, they are good a time management, they can work well in a team among other things, then they make themselves more valuable to potential employers. Things like the Duke of Edinburgh Award, volunteering roles and other extracurricular activities are all great for adding additional feathers to the bow that go beyond exam results.

Test Score

When it comes to A-Levels and University, grades are more important for specific courses. However not reaching the entry level requirements isn't the be-all and end-all. There are so many courses and Uni's available. While it might not be the first choice, there will be a way of achieving their goals, albeit in a slightly different way than they expected.

It all comes down to how hard they are willing to work to reach their goals. Some might not even go to Uni, there are many different paths that suit different people.

One Final Thing......GOOD LUCK!

I wish everyone taking exams the best of luck! I hope you get the grades that you have worked towards and deserve!

As an advocate for Sport and exercise, if nothing else I hope that everyone can remain active during this period and use it to help manage stress and improve their grades! If you need any more information or advice on how to optimise training calendars during this period, please let me know!

Do you have any advice or strategies that help?

Leave them in the comments below and you might be able to help someone else out going through the same thing!

Good Luck



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