Strategies for stressed students


Denny Lu, Editor

As the school year winds down to an end, the stress is just only beginning. For many students, it is time to start studying for final exams, AP tests, SAT/ACT and EOCs, just to name a few.

Success Starts Now–Calculus students in Ms. Granstad’s second period are wrapping up content this week to prepare for the upcoming AP Calculus AB exam. Danyella Cabrera, a senior formerly in the math class recalled the final rush to finish. “It’s pretty stressful, but managing my time was a top priority in all my AP classes,” Cabrera said.

Before examining the strategies for coping with tests, students need to understand what physiological processes go on in their bodies when they are in stressful situations—like taking a lengthy exam.  When teens are stressed, our brain releases cortisol, a hormone that increases glucose in the bloodstream, preparing our bodies for the “fight-or-flight” situation. Although a test is not what most people consider to be detrimental to one’s safety, the consequences of a big test or quiz may put people on edge. The feeling of panic can take over someone’s body and lead to excessive worrying. Some symptoms associated with an extremely stressed individual can include migraines, insomnia, chest pains, low energy and loss of desire or abilities.

Studying the Art of Being Stress-Free–UnidosNow club members attend a free, virtual workshop on how to prepare for their upcoming college entrance exams. Maria Alonzo, senior, attended the meeting and found it informational. “It’s equally important that we focus on ourselves just as much as the tests,” Alonzo said.

Although these outcomes may seem daunting for many students, there are easy and manageable ways to make people relive a bit of the anxiety and improve productivity to maximize performance on test day. These skills for stress and time management may seem easy at first, but students should be willing to dedicate time to making sure their physical and emotional well-being takes priority.

Mapping out one’s schedule can be time-consuming at the beginning but proves beneficial in the long run. It allows students to understand what priorities they need to set a daily or weekly basis to make sure they maximize their studying time.  One way of doing this is by simply using a calendar app or a table that can help organize tasks by date and time. During the fourth quarter, many students can get bombarded with tests, homework, projects and other class materials making last-minute surprises not friendly.  As one progresses through each task, simply mark it off of their to-do list. It is simple and gives them the confidence to continue forward.

Take this advice from seniors who have dealt with stressful exams for the past four years of their high school careers.

Danyella Cabrera, a senior who is involved in academics and athletics, finds value in balancing school and free time.

“It’s super essential to prioritize what you need to get done. For me, I have tennis and sometimes I need to call off practice just to get a couple of hours to study for a chemistry test. However, I am realistic with myself and get enough rest for the next day,” Cabrera said.

The same points were brought up by senior Maria Alonzo, who is active around school as a business scholar and volunteer tutor outside of school.

“I take college and AP classes, so it can get stressful at times. But I like going to the gym because it allows me to focus on myself without thinking too much about my schoolwork,” said Alonzo.

Just as it may seem that studying every extra minute for that upcoming exam may be essential, it might be equal if not better if some time is dedicated to personal wellness and excitement. Remember this exam season, put in your best effort in studying by managing your time, exercising daily, and prioritizing your schedule. Simply put, it’s a balance of your life, your choices, and your willingness to succeed. And sometimes, it’s best to enjoy yourself away from the stress.