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Many students going through the VCE will experience stress from time to time. While it’s totally normal to feel some pressure, it shouldn’t be impacting your daily life and most certainly shouldn’t be preventing you from excelling in your regular study routine. Here are five helpful tips for managing stress during exam time:

1. Talk it over with a specialised VCE tutor

In addition to being experts in subjects and curriculum, online VCE tutors are also very knowledgeable about the VCE experience as a whole. They have listened to many students going through their final years before you, and their job is to provide support. So, don’t feel embarrassed to talk to your tutor about stress management and the feelings that come up as you approach assessment. Your tutor will tailor their lessons to make you feel confident in your knowledge, and they may be able to help with your schedule.

2. Take practice exams in test conditions

For some, it’s the stressful exam conditions that make them feel uneasy. The quiet and restrictive environment where you are watched and timed helps to provide a more equal testing ground for students across the state. However, it doesn’t do much in terms of comfort. While you can’t control your environment on the day, taking practice exams in test conditions can be a useful way to mentally prepare. You can do this with a friend, your tutor, or even on your own by setting a timer.

3. Limit talking about the exam on the day

A good chat with a mate before your exam can be great for calming your nerves. If your conversation is about exam concerns, feeling super-worried, or last-minute questions, however, it’s definitely not going to help. You’re spending the whole school year preparing for this period. So, let yourself work on your revision up until the night before the exam. Then, when it comes to the day, don’t lose your cool by stressing with friends. Likewise, don’t allow other people to confuse you. Instead, wish your peers well, answer quick questions (if you want to), and listen to your favourite music to get yourself in a good mood.

4. Get enough sleep 

All-nighters are certainly popular among students who have assessment looming, but studies suggest that adequate sleep is more beneficial to exam performance. Remember this when you find yourself yawning while flipping through textbooks or typing on your laptop. Getting enough sleep (8-10 uninterrupted hours is the norm for teens) will help you retain knowledge better, improve memory function, reduce stress, and boost your mood. Try to maintain a healthy sleep routine throughout the year to complement your studies. If your exams are approaching soon and you haven’t been doing so, it’s not too late to prioritise sleep tonight.

5. Remember, it’s just an exam

A lot of VCE students feel enormous pressure in their final high school years. Indeed, it tends to be normalised by many. Remember that learning and development is a lifetime process, so this isn’t the final benchmark for your education. There are plenty of pathways to all types of careers in life, and VCE is just one. Maintain healthy habits this year, and seek mental health support, even if it’s just checking in with your family and friends from time to time.

The thing with VCE is, stressful though it may be, it is the shortest high school year. So hang tight, and your worries about exams will be over before you know it!