How to handle study stress

2015-11-04 06:00

AS thousands of matrics started their final exams on Monday, experts warn that high levels of stress could do more damage than good for results.

University of KwaZulu-Natal education expert Wayne Hugo said there were a number of steps parents and pupils should try to remember when it came to the weeks leading up to and during matric finals.

Regular, challenging exercise - It is important to get good physical exercise during exams as research has shown that exercise recharges the brain, helping it to absorb more information.

“To sacrifice the body to learn will only come back to bite you,” said Hugo.

Regular sleep patterns - Sleep helps clear the brain and refreshes it, making more room for learning: “This is a very important part of the studying process,” said Hugo.

Revision - It is important to revise the previous day’s studying as soon as you wake up in the morning, and then revise again three days later. Hugo said this will store the information in long-term memory and make it more likely to stick.

Stress levels - A small amount of stress can help make people more efficient, but too much stress is detrimental during exam time. Hugo said when there is too much stress, the brain focuses on the amount of stress you are experiencing rather than the study material.

Long-term planning - Hugo said it was important to write down on a calendar when each exam was and then work out how much time you have to study for each exam.

Exams are predictable - Hugo said that final exams were fairly predictable and students should not try to learn every single thing.

“Focus on the subjects your teachers have told you will be important in the exam rather than learning a little bit on each section.”

Test yourself - Hugo said it was important that pupils get a friend to test them or test themselves on what they have learned instead of reading over the sections and assuming they know it. “If you test yourself without any of the study material in front of you, you will know how ready you are for the exam.”

• Lastly, do not cram or speed through your notes - The more slowly pupils read and understand what they are reading, the more likely they will be able to soak up more of the information and not forget it. - Supplied.

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