Time to prioritise study skills and good planning

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 05:00 07/11/2012
Verdon College pupils Grace Dowling, 16, and Alannah Webster-Blair, 15, get study help from teacher Stephen Alcock before NCEA exams begin on Friday.
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ

FINAL COUNTDOWN: Verdon College pupils Grace Dowling, 16, and Alannah Webster-Blair, 15, get study help from teacher Stephen Alcock before NCEA exams begin on Friday.

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With NCEA exams just a couple of days away, southern high school students are so far handling the pressures of study but could need extra support as the exam month progresses, educators say.

More than 143,000 senior high school pupils will sit end-of-year exams during the coming month, and schools and parents across the country are preparing for the onset of study-related stress.

However, pupils in the south seem to have it under control this time around, Southland Boys' High School guidance counsellor Stephen Jackson said.

"Last year we did have a boy who was getting pretty low at the time of exams, and in the past there certainly have been [extreme cases of stress] in Southland, like the rest of the country. But no, to date, touch wood, things seem to be going along OK."

Stress levels could worsen leading into exams, as pupils started to feel overwhelmed with study, he said.

"Next week is when the pressure's going to come on. Things are approaching really quickly."

Although relaxing was a good way to reduce the traditional exam stress, it was equally important for pupils to put in the hard yards, he said.

"This is a time where you've just got to set your priorities right. Limit your time on Facebook."

He also acknowledged that, with many subjects assessed internally, the exam period was not the be-all and end-all it used to be.

"The way the NCEA is structured now a lot of the pressure that used to be there is gone."

Other schools have also reported smooth sailing leading into exams, but are continuing to offer support for pupils.

James Hargest College guidance counsellor Sandra Tyree said the key to avoiding stress was early preparation.

She warned against leaving things to the last minute, and especially discouraged late night cramming, as pupils could oversleep and miss their exams completely. "We've had a couple in the past who have done that."

Number 10 youth services have not dealt with any cases of exam-related stress yet, but counsellors are available for guidance.

AVOIDING EXAM STRESS B

alance study with free time - stay positive by taking regular breaks and keeping in touch with friends. Set up a regular study routine, and study in a quiet, organised area. Ask family members not to disturb you. Be prepared by knowing where and when your exam is, getting a good night's sleep, and arriving early for your exam. Have back-up transport plans in place in case something goes wrong on the day.

Source: NZQA

lauren.hayes@stl.co.nz

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