Secondary School Stress (& how to cope!)

Hi!

I’m a teenager, and this means I’m in secondary school (or highschool for Americans). As students, we have colossal amounts of pressure and expectations in relation to school which we have to overcome. This, I think, makes us all superheroes, with our own problems to overcome, who have immense skill and determination. To be successful in school takes work; revision, homework, preparing for tests, contribution in class, and even having a supportive friend group in school which makes you feel comfortable all go towards good results. However, many students find it hard to cope. So these are:

My top tips to handle school!

(Also, I’m very sorry for the long introduction)

  1. Asking teachers for help

For a long period of time, I found it very difficult in class to contribute and speak. I became very nervous when I had to answer or ask questions to the point where I would never ask for help, but rather try (and fail) to work out what to do by myself. Please, if you’re feeling the same, don’t be me. I understand that, for some people, talking to a teacher or other authority figure can be nerve-wracking. If you’re not sure what to do, first ask the person next to you if they understand the task. If they do, ask them to explain, but if they don’t, obviously the teacher hasn’t explained it in an easy-to-understand way. If neither of you understand, ask the teacher for help together; the teacher talking to both of you will be a lot more calming than one-on-one.

2. Answering Questions

Some people lack confidence when asking questions, or fear being called on. So many people in my classes answer questions with other questions:

“What’s 56+21?”

“Is it… 77?”

It sounds much better if you use the phrasing “it is” rather than “is it”. It always helps to have confidence when answering the question, but don’t be overly confident, or you may come across as boastful. Always try to prepare your answer before sharing it, as it helps to avoid errors and stops you getting lost for words. When you have a teacher who calls on people, always listen to questions carefully, and have the answer in your head. That way you can answer easily if you’re the poor unfortunate soul they call on.

3. Classwork

Always keep your work consistent. Use the same date format and handwriting to make your book look neater. Also, if you use the same handwriting all the time, you should be able to visualise things you need to remember easier.

4. Revise as you go

Don’t cram all of your revision in the night before am exam. Instead, revise as you go. Buy some notebooks, one for every subject, and revision materials (eg. Highlighters, coloured pens). At the end of every week, review all of your work, condense the important material and copy it into your notebook. This helps because you can set it out however you wish, and when it comes to the exam, everything is already there. I like to colour code the things I highlight. Personally, I use yellow for titles, blue for keywords, pink for important info and green for subtitles.

5. Find your best way of revision

To revise effectively, you have to find the best way of revision for you personally. Some people learn vocally, by saying things out loud. Some like to draw things out or read them over. Others like to test themselves. I personally learn by writing things down, which is why I use the notebook method. Try using various ways until you find what works for you! However, the notebook method can be adapted for all sorts of learners. You could read through the notes, say them out loud, or test yourself on them.

Happy Studying!

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