Tips for de-stressing this month of finals and diploma exams

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Career and Academic Counsellor
Serving County Central High, Noble Central and Carmangay Outreach

January can be very stressful for students with diploma and other exams.

Here are some tips for parents and students to deal with test-taking stress:

(1) First of all, watch out for stress. Signs that your teenager is experiencing stress include: irritability; poor sleeping patterns; loss of interest in food; worrying a lot; and appearing depressed or negative. Headaches and stomach pains can also be stress-related.

(2) Encourage sleep. Most teens need between eight and 10 hours of sleep a night. Good sleep will improve thinking and concentration. Allow a half an hour or so for teens to wind down between studying, watching TV or using a computer before hitting the sack.

(3) Help them to study. Help your teen by doing flashcards together or quizzing them. Also, help them draw up a study schedule to follow and colour-code it so it’s easier to follow. In addition, make sure they have somewhere comfortable to study.

(4) Encourage good eating habits. Students shouldn’t write an exam on an empty stomach. Anti-anxiety foods include fresh fruits and vegetables. Foods that increase stress are: pop; chocolate; junk food; eggs; and fried foods.

(5) Exercise. Exercise helps students focus, boosts their mood and gives them energy and motivation to succeed. Yoga is an example of a great stress-relieving exercise.

(6) Spend time with your furry friend. Research shows that pets can lower anxiety and blood pressure.

(7) Stay away from negative students. Avoid speaking with any students who haven’t prepared for their exams. Also stay away from those students who are speaking negatively. Walk away and give your brain a break.

Here's a look at the January diploma exam schedule; exams start at 9 a.m. unless otherwise noted:

January 16 English Language Arts 30-1, English Language Arts 30-2 Part A

January 17 Social Studies 30-1, Social Studies 30-2 Part A

January 18 French 30-1 Part A

January 20 French 30-1 Part B

January 23 English Language Arts 30-1, English Language Arts 30-2 Part B

 January 24 Social Studies 30-1, Social Studies 30-2 Part B

January 25 Math 30-1, Math 30-2

January 26 Biology 30

January 27 Chemistry 30

January 30 Physics 30

1 p.m., January 30 Science 30

For Grade 9 students on a semester system, here's a list of Provincial Achievement Tests this month, all starting at 9 a.m.:

January 19 English Language Arts Part A, Knowledge and Employability (K&E) English Language Arts Part A

January 20 French Language Arts Part A

January 23 Social Studies, K&E Social Studies

January 24 Science, K&E Science

January 25 Mathematics, K&E Mathematics

January 26 English Language Arts Part B, K&E English Language Arts, Part B

January 27 French Language Arts Part B

For Grade 9 students not on a semestered schedule, please consult your school calendar for mid-term dates.