Coping with exams.

Essay by zombat May 2003

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coping with exams

testing times

by Audrey Thompson

Which of the following statements is correct?

Exams are stressful

Revision causes anxiety

Exam pressure can make you ill.

If your answer is 'yes' to any of the above... then you are not alone.

It is no surprise that taking exams is one of the most stressful times in a young person's life, particularly as their importance may have been drilled into them for months, sometimes years, beforehand.

Some pupils and students are able to handle the pressures: they may get nervous but they cope. Other people become anxious, agitated, bad-tempered and may even become literally ill or seriously depressed. But it really doesn't have to be that way.

Charlotte Driessler, aged nine, who lives in south London, didn't think of herself as stressed when she took her first major exams -- key stage one -- three years ago. She just had butterflies in her stomach and felt a bit nervous.

But she still describes the experience on a scale of one to ten, as a seven. 'I think I coped with my exams quite well, even though I thought I was going to fail, but I didn't.'

The situation was a little different for Zoe Leadley-Watkins, who lives in south-east London, when she took her GCSEs in 2000 and again, at 18, last year when she took the country's first AS examinations. 'Everyone always says not to worry about the exams -- "they're not the end of the world" and "there is always next year" -- but somehow it doesn't help.'

But from her experiences last year, she knows the stress before exams is often worse than the actual exam. 'I didn't notice it at the time but I did get bad-tempered at home while doing my exams although I wasn't...