The HSC is around the corner (and study tips a must), and for many students this can be very stressful, with a large component of this stress coming from internal (psychological) pressure. Stress management is extremely important for teenagers, as mismanagement can lead to psychological distress, which may result in poor exam results if not caught early.
Here are some helpful tips for students, parents and supporters (who have a student currently undertaking the HSC), or for anyone who knows a HSC student and wants to show some care and support.
Your care and support (like a cheer squad!) are highly valued. Knowing where and how to direct that care and support can require some further guidance. We are here to help.
HSC Study Tips: Essentials
- It is important to remain calm and not add unnecessary pressure to the student. An essential study tip.
For many parents, this is a crucial stage in your teenager’s life, so it’s natural to worry about their academic performance. Sometimes you want to share every known study tip… STOP! It is important to note that adding more pressure than necessary may result in increased levels of anxiety, which is both unhealthy and detrimental to exam performance. As mentioned earlier, a large component of a student’s stress comes from internal pressure, so additional external pressure is not always ideal. Although stress can be beneficial and can help propel students to work harder, too much of this can lead to burn out, problematic anxiety, and other internal issues. Remaining calm during this stressful period of time will not only psychologically relax the student, but the student will also see this behaviour from the parent (or supporter) and add it to their own management of stress which is ultimately much healthier.
- Acknowledging achievements and mistakes.
Before students commence their HSC exams, many often forget how far they have come and the many achievements they have accomplished throughout the year. Keep in mind, most students have been at school since they were at least 5 years of age (if not younger)! It is important for parents to take time to acknowledge and commend these achievements and the strengths. Being honest and acknowledging weaknesses and errors is also essential. It is crucial for parents to let students know that failures are totally normal (in the scheme of life) and are part of the milestones to success.
- Taking time-out
For many ambitious students, they seem to focus entirely on the HSC and often forget to take time to relax, and find ways to cope with stress effectively. There is life beyond the HSC! As parents, it is important to ensure these students have proper healthy diets, correct sleeping patterns and are taking time out to engage in leisure activities (i.e. yoga, sport, music, meditation) to avoid burning out from study. As a parent and supporter you could suggest a family or friends outing; a movie (try to make it comedy!) , a dinner out, a creative activity or something fun and spontaneous to ease the mind of the busy student. Even a walk around the block with the family dog will help! For those students who are loathe to walk away from the books- make them a healthy snack and a cuppa and sit down for a quick chat. Try to focus on something unrelated to study (like an upcoming event or family outing).
- Time management
More often than not, many students are guilty of engaging in the ‘cramming’ of study before exams and assessments. This situation often adds to the stress and may lead to poor performance in exams. As supporters, we can remind students that cramming may lead to more stress which is never ideal, and could have been prevented earlier by having a managed time schedule. It’s far better to focus on knowing ‘what you know’ and ‘knowing it well’- as this is likely to increase the ‘quality’ versus the ‘quantity’ of your knowledge.
A tip for students: (from Vivian)
Having graduated not too long ago, I totally understand the effect of academic pressure on a student, and how important it is to find strategies to cope with this stress. I, too, was guilty of procrastination, burning out and over-stressing. The biggest piece of advice I have for students, is to make stress your friend and not your enemy. Let the stress drive you, but not control you.
Vivian Chau is a 2nd year Psychology student and Social Media Strategist at Talkingminds. We thank Vivian for her thoughtful considerations and contributions to this article. We hope they can assist you.
This article is reviewed and edited by Trudy Wilson, Director and Principal Therapist at Talkingminds. Trudy and her caring team at Talkingminds are very experienced in supporting students of all ages.
If you are a HSC , university, TAFE or college student needing help with exam preparation, study tips, time management or stress management – call one of our talented team at Talkingminds today!
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