Lesson video

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Welcome to this unit on mental wellbeing where we will be learning how to recognise problems and finding out where to seek support.

I'm Mrs. Harris, and in this lesson, we're going to be exploring how to cope with exam stress and anxiety that can sometimes accompany this.

For this lesson, you will need an exercise book or paper and a pen.

This is what our lesson is going to look like today.

You should already have completed the intro quiz.

We're first going to identify coping mechanisms we can use when dealing with exam stress and anxiety.

We'll be looking at how to recognise when anxiety requires more than self-help.

And at the end of the lesson, there will be an exit quiz for you to reflect on what we have learned.

Here are key words for today's lesson.

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, like a worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.

Everyone can feel anxious from time to time, and it usually passes when the stressful situation is over.

A coping mechanism is using a conscious or unconscious adaptation to stress.

It's just how we deal with the stressful situation in order to move past it.

Self-help is using your own efforts and resources to achieve things.

You will have lots of these up your sleeve but we will also look at other self-help strategies you may not have thought of.

So how well are you coping with your exam stress or anxiety at the moment? These are randomly chosen images.

Pick one that you feel accurately represents how you might be feeling at the moment.

For example, you might pick the sunflower picture and compare your worries around sciences as each of the sunflowers and the sun in the background would represent the light at the end of the tunnel.

Think about, and then write down how the picture represents how you are coping with exam stress and anxiety at the moment.

You may wish to pause the video while you do this.

We're now going to look at identifying coping mechanisms. Remember a coping mechanism is using a conscious or unconscious adaptation to stress.

Here's some examples of coping mechanisms. Planning ahead, looking at what is coming up, for example, mock exams, end of unit tests, or assignments help us to reduce our anxiety as we know what is coming and when.

Preparing a revision timetable.

Planning out what you need to do and when you need to do it allows you to ensure you cover what you need to but also working some break times and social time so that you're able to be able to keep more of a balance between school and your social life.

As I just mentioned, taking breaks is a really good coping mechanism.

You need to plan in time away from your work to clear your mind.

Thinking about which tasks are the most important, maybe tackling the subjects or topics that you struggle with most first, is also great in reducing your anxiety.

It's important to use a variety of revision techniques when I'm preparing for exams in order to keep your mind fresh and also keep it interesting.

We will be looking at some revision ideas later on in this lesson.

A great coping mechanism is talking about your worries with a trusted friend or adult.

Keeping them bottled up is not helpful in reducing your anxiety, but sharing them may even result in someone sharing a useful coping mechanism they rely on.

Here are a number of good and bad coping mechanisms through reducing exam stress.

Can you identify which of these are good coping mechanisms? As a challenge, can you think of any other ideas of coping mechanisms? You may wish to pause the video in order to write down your answers.

Does your list match mine? You will recognise some of these coping mechanisms we talked about on one of our previous slides.

There are also other suggestions here, such as using post-it notes and highlighting notes, which are actually great revision strategies.

Let's explore revision strategies a little more.

What is clear is that preparing in advance is one of the key coping mechanisms when trying to reduce exam stress and anxiety.

Knowing what work you need to do and how you are you're to do it and by when can greatly reduce some of the stress and anxiety associated with exams. Here are some revision strategies you might want to experiment and use when planning out your revision and compiling your revision timetable.

You could use some flashcards and write some quiz questions on one side with the answer on the back and use them to test yourself or get others to test you.

Sometimes presenting information in a visual way can be very helpful to some people.

Changing some text into picture form helps you engage with the material you are revising.

This is a great way of testing knowledge retention.

Once you have revised the topic, then try to talk about it or write about it for a minute.

And highlighting information is a great way of picking out key facts and key information, and it's something I'm going to demonstrate now.

I'm going to demonstrate the highlighting revision technique with the information on this slide.

Revision is important when preparing for your exams. It helps you to remember key facts, figures, and methodologies.

Additionally, if carried out effectively, it helps to increase your confidence and reduce your anxiety.

One of the most popular revision techniques is highlighting.

Words tat are highlighted or underlined in bright colours break up a piece of text, engage your brain with the material, and draw your eye to the key information as it stands out from a piece of black and white text.

You can then test yourself further by writing down all the highlighted words and use them to write a summary paragraph.

Your task is to identify between five and 10 words that you would highlight from this text, and write them down.

You may wish to pause the video while you complete this task.

Did you pick out similar words to me? It doesn't matter if you didn't, as everyone interprets texts in different ways.

The highlighting revision technique requires you to engage with the text by making a decision about which words are the most important.

This helps the process of committing these keywords to your long-term memory.

You can then try to put all the keywords back into a written piece of text, which tests your understanding of the information.

We're now going to look at recognising when exam anxiety requires more than self-help.

Can you remember the definition of self-help? Do you think this definition is correct or not? This definition is correct.

In fact, self-help strategies are usually all you need to deal with mild to moderate anxiety.

What self-help strategies could you use to cope with exam anxiety? Pause the video and make a list in your book or on your piece of paper.

Here are some useful strategies that can be found by looking at the NHS Every Mind Matters anxiety resources.

Writing down some of your worries each day helps you to recognise some of the trigger situations for your anxiety.

Don't try to ignore your worries.

Allow yourself time to reflect on what is worrying you.

Instead of avoiding worrying situations, you will find that building up the time you spend in these situations will actually improve your resilience in dealing with them.

And trying relaxation and mindfulness exercises can help on shifting your focus away from your worries.

We're going to use a scenario to apply what we have learned in this lesson so far.

Here's Mohammed, and here is his friend, Joseph.

Mohammed is a shy, studious and ambitious pupil.

He often worries about school and how some mock exams coming up that he wants to do well in in order to fulfil his aspirations.

Mohammed is devised a revision timetable but is beginning to feel overwhelmed by it all.

It is beginning to keep him awake at night and he's finding it hard to concentrate during his lessons.

He is also suffering from more and more headaches.

Joseph is good friends with Mohammed and has noticed that Mohammed has stopped replying to his messages in the evenings and doesn't want to socialise with his friends at lunchtime.

Can you identify three signs that Mohammed's exam stress requires more than self-help? You should pause the video while you write down your observations.

This is your task.

Do your answers match mine? It was clear that Mohammed was feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work he had to do.

He was having problems getting a full night's sleep and finding it hard to concentrate at school.

He was beginning to isolate himself from his friends and had stopped replying to Joseph's messages.

Mohammad had also started to suffer more from headaches.

Sometimes other signs that exam stress anxiety might need more help is if someone stops looking after their personal hygiene or their mood changes over a longer period of time.

Do you think that if you suffer from any of the problems on the previous slide, that this is a concern? The answer is no.

We can all suffer from many of these problems but perhaps if someone is suffering from one or more and this coincides with exam time, then we might feel that someone needs a little more support.

If you feel that either or a friend needs more support, then where can you get that help? Here's what the NHS advise.

Talk to a trusted adult or your GP as they will be able to provide you with practical advice.

You could also visit the websites of any of the organisations listed here.

Some of these also offer web chat lines or phone lines you can use.

Reading well a scheme you can access from your local library where you can find information on books to help support your mental health and wellbeing.

That brings us to the end of our lesson on coping with exam stress and anxiety.

Before you go and complete your exit quiz, I'd like to thank you for engaging with the tasks and ask you to reflect on which three self-help strategies you might try to help you cope with exam anxiety.

I look forward to carrying on our learning in the next lesson, in this unit.