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Exam stress is likely to put any household under pressure, so how do we best help children to cope?
One important safeguard, is not leaving preparation to the last minute.

That's why 702's Refiloe Mpakanyane decided to raise the topic with parenting expert Nikki Bush, while school exams are still some way off.

Bush says it all hinges on how the brain works - the information we're processing needs time and repetition to move from short-term- to long-term memory.

When we're studying, the objective is to get that information into long-term memory, to file it in such a way that when we need to access it in a test or an exam, we can do so.

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

Leaving studying to the last minute she confirms, puts the brain, and the human being, under an intense amount of anxiety and stress.

When children are feeling overwhelmed and anxious, they get under pressure and they get a case of analysis paralysis, they don't know where to start...

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

Schoolchildren - especially matric students - also suffer under societal expectations which give the impression their whole lives ultimately depend on their exam results.

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Sticking to a routine amid all this pressure, is key.

Your normal, daily routine is important. Don't change the routine - wake up and go to bed and eat meals at the same time.

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

Bush notes that the established extra-mural routine grinding to a halt during exam time is also disruptive, especially for matrics before their prelims.

She advises getting regular physical exercise in other ways.

Get yourself into the gym, on a regular basis if not a daily basis to give your body a workout, but most importantly to keep those endorphins flowing through your system, because they will keep you calm.

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

Bush also stresses the need to break study time up into chunks with sufficient breaks, and to practise working against the clock.

Doing past papers, especially if you're in Grade 11 or 12, is very important to become exam-fit.

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

For more tips on alleviating exam stress through thorough preparation, click on the link below:

This article first appeared on 702 : Minimise school kids' exam stress by helping them prepare early

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