This one is for all our FFC children – fostered children, foster carers own children and children of the FFC staff team : how not to get all SATS (Stressed Anxious Tired Student) about your SATS!
Almost everyone gets a bit anxious about tests or exams – some people more than others (and lots more that are anxious but don’t admit to it!) It’s perfectly natural to feel a little stressed, it just means that you really care about the result you will get, and as we all know, caring is a good thing!
Sometimes a little bit of stress can help you to focus on working hard to get a good score. But if you get too worried then stress can really work against you, and stop you achieving your potential. So it’s important to be able to recognise when you are feeling too stressed, and try to find ways that work for you of calming the stress so you can release your potential and be #ReadyToNailMySATS!
Am I Stressed?
People experience stress differently – some people are very good at recognising when they are feeling stressed, but for many others stress just seems to bubble under the surface without us really realising, and it can seep out in lots of different feelings and problems, such as:
- feeling super tired
- feeling super angry
- feeling sad and like you might cry at any moment
- feeling shaky and panicky
- sleeping badly or not being able to sleep at all
- feeling run down, sick or even itchy!
If you are feeling some (or all – eekh!) of these then it might be a good idea to start tackling that stress before it gets out of control and gets in your way!
Remember too that stress can be tricky to spot in ourselves and sometimes it’s only the people closest to us - the ones who know and care for us the best - who can see that we are stressed. If a grown-up who cares for you is telling you that you might be stressed, then maybe you should listen because they might just be right!
OK, I’ve Gone All SATS, What Can I Do?
OK, you think you might have gone all SATS, but don't worry - it's fixable! Here are some top tips for going from being a super stressed out student, to being ready to nail your SATS tests:
Get plenty of sleep
Try to keep your sleep routine as regular as possible. Set your bedtime and stick to it. Put the books away, switch off all the tech, dump your phone in your bag in a different room and step away from the Caffeine drinks! Try having a warm bath before bed, having a hot milky drink, counting sheep – whatever helps you drop off! You could try listening to classical music – many people swear by it as a fantastic way to relax, and studies have even shown that listening to classical music is good for your brain too!
Eat properly and stay hydrated
Make sure your diet includes plenty of fruit and veg…. and dark chocolate! (Studies have shown that it helps to reduce stress hormones in your body and release feel good hormones in their place!) Very importantly, keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water. Studies have shown that even a slight level of dehydration impairs brain function. Water is best, so try to stay away from fizzy drinks and caffeinated drinks (tea, coffee, energy drinks), especially in the evening, and try diluting juices with water.
Take regular breaks
This is really important, you should give yourself plenty of short breaks as you revise. Think of it this way - when you are revising you are inputting lots of data into the wonderful computer that is your brain. Once the data has been inputted, your brain needs some processing time to scan it, tag it, cross-reference it and file it, if that information is going to be retained. And your brain can only do this once the data input has stopped! Use your breaks to do something completely different, or to just lie back and close your eyes. It will keep you fresher for longer so you can learn more, and it'll improve how you retain and recall all those facts and figures!
Make time for yourself and for exercise
Try to leave enough time in your revision for some fun. You will need to put your books down and do something you enjoy for a while if you want to stay in a good mood. Getting some exercise would be great – it’s a guaranteed stress buster. Go running, skateboarding, play a sport or just take a walk! You will feel more relaxed, and it will give your brain a chance to process all that data you’ve been inputting!
Don't beat yourself up about things, instead be nice to yourself. Make a quick list of five things you've done that you are proud of. This will put you in a good mood and you will learn more. If you are starting to lose it, and feel that the studying is getting on top of you - take a bit of time to:
• Breathe deeply.
• Tell yourself how well you are doing.
• Remind yourself that everything is going to turn out alright.
• Stand up straight and smile, you will feel a bit better straight away.
Stay calm and believe in yourself
Your SATS are important and you will want to do as well as you can. But the world won’t stop turning if you just can’t remember the difference between your relative pronouns and your reflexive pronouns, or the square root of 169!
Remember, you are much, much more than your SATS results, and your particular set of skills and talents are uniquely wonderful and just as valuable in this world as the next person's.
And if you get into the exam and find that all the information has deserted you, just sit back, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and relax. Once you relax, you make way for your brain to get on with the job of nailing your SATS!
Hopefully some or all of these tips will help you go from being All SATS About Your SATS to being #ReadyToNailMySATS!
Good luck, we believe in you.