Tiffany Wrightson – October 2014
It’s a busy period. School exams are almost over and dance exams are fast approaching! With so many commitments, students often become a little overwhelmed. It is understandable that they may be feeling stressed. As parents, teachers and/or guardians, we do our best to look out for signs of stress, and help our children get through this period with as much confidence as possible. What we hope for at the end of an examination, is our students feeling a sense of pride, knowing that they did everything possible to achieve their personal best.
While a little nerves or stress is quite normal, we must watch for signs of stress accumulating and turning into distress. Here are some suggestions for helping our children manage their exam stress.
1. Prepare, prepare, prepare!
If a student has worked conscientiously in all of their classes, and practices sufficiently outside of class time, they should feel confident when entering the examination.
2. Schedule in Practice Time
Students seem to receive more and more homework from their academic schools. In addition to all their extra activities, it may seem like there is just no time left. Help our children to manage their time wisely. Dance is a commitment. Students must not just attend classes with no thought in between. Help them schedule time for practice outside class, minimum three times per week recommended.
3. Practice with Friends
Practicing is always more fun when done together with friends. They can help each other tackle the more difficult steps and remember all the corrections given in class. Help your child to organize practice sessions with their friends, or for the older kids, encourage them to organize practice sessions on their own, utilizing our Open Studio hours.
4. Organize Additional Lessons if & when necessary
If there is something your child is really struggling with, it may be worth enquiring about a private lesson with either the teacher or teaching assistant. They will likely be happy to support the student if time and space are available.
5. Get a Good Night’s Rest
Cramming it all in at the last minute will not do! Lack of sleep results in poor coping strategies for managing stress and ‘fuzzy’ thinking. Your best bet is to study and practice often and in advance so that you can get your rest before the big day.
6. Eat Healthy
A well balanced diet is key to feeling good on your exam day.
7. Stay Positive
It is important that students remain optimistic and focus on achieving realistic goals. Visualizing a great exam in a very good idea before taking the exam.
Take a deep breath just before entering the exam room. Deep breaths help to calm us down. Know that you have prepared as much as possible, and will achieve the best you can on that day.
We are always going to feel those nervous ‘butterflies’ before taking an exam. If we didn’t feel this, it would mean that we didn’t care about doing our best. Rather than letting these ‘butterflies’ get the best of us, let’s turn them into positive energy – make that smile a little bit bigger, stretch those arms that little bit further. Most importantly, remember that if you have put in the effort, all you need to do is achieve the best that you can.
Good luck to everyone for a successful exam session!