REMAIN CALM—Exams are Approaching!

Emily (8)

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It is that time of year where Grade 7 and 8 students become anxious, and the need to study becomes apparent: exam season is approaching, taking place on June 1 – 6.

With the necessity of constant review, stress levels rise drastically.

The seventh graders feel particularly anxious about the methods they will use to prepare for the exam. After all, most of them have never taken a proper exam before. “I’ve heard about how horrible and hard exams are, but I have never taken them so I am very interested,” said Chihiro (7). However, although she feels nervous for exams, Chihiro has already begun to organise a study plan. She is currently taking notes on A4 sheets of paper, as well as keeping all of her tests and important assignments together in a folder. After that, she plans to write down all of the information she knows in a study notebook. Though she admits that she is not nervous about receiving her results, she knows that others will be, and that the waiting period will be agonising.

Like Chihiro, Maya (7) also feels nervous and overwhelmed as she has realized that the exams are approaching rather quickly, and there are still several topics to review. Her study techniques are similar to Chihiro’s: creating study notes, organizing key vocabulary, and, most importantly, focusing in class. “I am nervous because I don’t want to ruin my hard work that I have done during the school year, so I’m hoping that I will get good results,” Maya said. She said that lack of sleep will probably be the biggest source of stress during the exam period.

The eighth graders, on the other hand, are far more experienced in this matter. Last year they took the exams for the first time, and although they have differing opinions about their individual results and are still nervous about this year’s examination period, they are now in possession of valuable experience.

Regarding last year’s exam season, Moeka (8) recalled that she felt very nervous and unprepared for the entirety of the period leading up to the testing season. When asked what the atmosphere was like when walking into the examination room, she said, “The exam room was filled with tension, and everyone was so concentrated on the tests. It was kind of scary.” In terms of how she felt after the exams, Moeka said it depended on the subjects. If she already had confidence in the subject before taking the exam, the exam was easy, but if she was lacking in confidence in certain areas, then the exam proved to be challenging. Her study plan last year consisted of copying important notes for each class and reviewing these notes before the exams- similar to Chihiro and Maya’s exam study plans this year. This year, having to meet her parent’s expectations and having to do well is the biggest source of stress for Moeka. However, she reports that her seventh grade experience has made this period slightly easier for her.

Emi (8) reported that she was indeed nervous during last year’s exam season, but once she took the exams, a tremendous feeling of strong relief had washed over her. When asked to describe the atmosphere of the room where the exams were being taken, Emi reported that it was “kind of tense because it wasn’t very inviting, I mean – I’m not asking for Feng Shui or anything but that room was pretty darn exam-y.” She prepared for exams by using study guides and quizzing herself and is planning to do the same this year. Without a doubt, Emi believed that her biggest source of stress was time management – completing the exams within the time limit, and being able to decide how much time to dedicate to each question, long or short. But, similarly to Moeka, her seventh grade exam experience makes this season far easier to manage for her.

As we can see with the opinions of both grades 7 and 8, nerves and stress are the two big factors of the exam season. Moeka said that studying with friends can be a way to study that isn’t quite as stressful and is still fun and beneficial. She said that it’s important to take breaks – to play sports, to spend time with friends in between studying, and to do the things you enjoy. Maya and Chihiro try to take frequent breaks in between lengthy studying periods and try to catch up on sleep during the weekends. When asked, Emi said, “How do I manage stress? (Not very well – is the go to answer) I do get panicky a lot so what I usually try to do is breathe for a certain count and then hold my breath for a certain count and then exhale for a certain count.” As Harshita (8) said, “The thing about exams is you just do it.

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