Any tips for parents to cope with exam stress?...

cybele

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Feb 27, 2012
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We are currently doing the year 12 end of year exams here and with two girls going through them (and a string of friends who are in my house for "group study" sessions) their stress is rubbing off on all of us.


A quick summary, because I know we do it a bit differently here.
Year 12 is the last year of school.
To apply for university you use your "ATAR" score, which is your score from all your exams combined, then ranked amongst everyone else in the state who did their exams (so you end up with a number between 00.01 - 100.00) different university courses require a minimum ATAR score to get in (hypothetical example, say I am doing my exams and want to get into a business course, the business score could be 71.45, so I would have to get that score or higher to get in)

So these exams are a big deal.


These exams span over two months too, as they do all performance exams in October and written exams in November.

Their timetables, which for some reason are stuck to the loungroom wall are

<U>Dita</U>
October 16 - Music Performance
November 1st - English
November 8th - Mathematical Methods
November 9th - Literature
November 16th - Food Technology

<U>Violet</U>
November 1st - English
November 2nd - Biology
November 8th - Mathematical Methods
November 12th - Specialist Mathematics
November 13th - Chemistry


So we are living in this high stress environment at the moment where everything is an over the top life or death matter (Dita had "lost" her copy of Lysistrata, which is one of her exam texts for Literature and we had tears, until it was found in her school bag) and I was wondering if anyone who has older kids who has been through crazy exams or tertiary schooling applications where tensions were high have any advice for trying to instil some calm into the household.


(Meanwhile, I cannot believe that I have to go through this four more times :eek:)
 

mom2many

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Jul 3, 2008
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I wished I could help, we have some state test and college entrance testing but nothing quite as stressful as what you guys have. Honestly in cases where the tension is high I find that 'if' I can stay calm everyone else around me reacts to it better.
 

bssage

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Oct 20, 2008
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My kids arent at that age yet. But it has been my experience that stress is stress. The way fear is fear. Stress by itself is not always a bad thing. It can be considered a driver to do more: do better: to achieve.

I dont think stress itself is an emotion. I believe it is an event that precludes an emotion like anxiety, or fear, ect. So I think that should make it a little simpler for you / them to deal with. So the exam = stressor which = anxiety or fear of failure. Fear of failure or test anxiety is much more specific than general stress. If you identify which one is causing the most discomfort it would in turn makes advice easier to give and to receive.

I suspect that with the two girls you may have both: Test anxiety for Dita. And fear of Failure for Violet (I say this because of her family support situation). And that is just a guess . Because they are so close I would figure the two combined emotions to be worse case. They may be feeding the flames of each others situation.

There are a lot of very specific ways to deal with either one. My personal generic "go to" is sit down: express your fear or anxiety aloud: Identify a acceptable resolution to "worse case scenario" Which would be different for both girls. Then get back to work.

I personally have had a lot of success with this. I doubt it is the "cure all" if it were the world would be a much simpler place
 
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akmom

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May 22, 2012
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I think that system itself sounds stressful! We don't really have anything comparable in the U.S. I suppose the closest thing is the SATs, which are standardized achievement tests used for college entry, but they are considered along with your high school GPA and often other factors (community service, achievements, personal essay). However, it's always helpful to have a protein-rich breakfast, healthy snacks and a quiet environment. So if you're the kind of family that tends to skip breakfast or grab a bowl of cereal, it might be a good time to stock up on eggs and sausage/bacon/ham and whole wheat toast, and have it ready for everyone in the morning. That's what we were always advised was "brain food," because it helps you stay awake and alert compared to being slightly hungry or filling up on refined carbs. And of course, if there are younger kids in the house, it might be a good time to arrange activities that keep them out of the older kids' hair. Some people tune out noise just fine, but others might find it distracting to hear 20 episodes of Spongebob blaring from the living room! Hope that helps. I haven't taken an exam in years.
 

cybele

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Feb 27, 2012
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Thanks guys, some great tips that I have taken on board.

I really do beliebe that you have hit the nail on the head with fuelling each other bssage, it especially doesn't help that they are taking two of the same subjects, as soon as one says something is different to the way the other thinks it is, they go into a headspin.

Don't worry akmom, we are a family of food obsessives, there is no skipping of any meal in this house, haha.

Dita's music exam is today, so hopefully due to the couple weeks break before the written exams start it dies down a bit.
 

Klissop

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Jun 30, 2020
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I'm not sure what to worry about. If you are confident that your child knows this material, then he will handle it. If he fails the exam, you always have time to prepare better and the chance to retake that exam. I try to help my child with homework. I found StudentShare and shared it with my son, he and I read articles and practice in writing good essay so that he doesn't worry about it on the exam. There are also many examples of writing assignments on this site that can also help your child. My son often uses this portal to get help from other students. It helps a lot in some areas. I think you shouldn't worry about it, in any case you will soon find out the result.