Exam preparation beyond study
WITH South West students preparing for WA Certificate of Education exams beginning next week, Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School counsellor Dr Justin Harrison has advised students not to ignore physical and emotional preparation.
“Academic preparation of course is important, but it is a very stressful time and I think one of the main things is self care and balance,” he said.
“If you do nothing but study day and night for the week leading up, you will be exhausted; your brain will be fried, you wont be able to think clearly.
“I always talk about quality of study time rather than quantity, so having frequent breaks, getting out into the sunshine, getting exercise and looking after your diet – spend time with family and keep things in perspective.”
Dr Harrison said it was normal to be anxious, but it was important not to put too much pressure on yourself.
“It’s also about accepting there is only so much you can do. If you have gone in and prepared as much as you can in the time you have, you need to tell yourself ‘the rest is out of my hands’,” he said. “The best thing is to accept you are going to be anxious and that is OK.
“It can actually be invigorating to be a little anxious, as long as you don’t let it get on top of you – if you find you are freezing up, speak to a trusted teacher, a family member or most schools will have a counsellor you can talk to.”
Dr Harrison said it was important to remember nothing was perfect and there were options if things go wrong. “Not doing as well as you would like to in an exam is not ideal, but it’s very rarely the end of the world,” he said.
“We tend to get so focused that we think ‘if this doesn’t work out the way we like, it’s all over’.
“Of course we know this isn’t true – there is always an alternative pathway to get to where you want to go.”