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An anxious student's guide to exam prep!

I feel ya.

I am anxious too, so it is great you’ve approached this blog for advice, because I can definitely help alleviate some of that pressure.

Anxious students take Tovah's Tutoring tutorials.
Anxious students come to us to support them with their learning.

How to support your anxious mind when sitting NCEA

One way I have learned to deal with anxiety, is to practice what I am anxious about. If I am nervous about speaking in front of others, I will practice in front of my friends. This idea can also be used with sitting your exams. During my tutorials, I spend a good amount of time practicing the process of undergoing an exam. I have my students practice looking at an exam paper, so it feels normal to them; I have my students reading through and eliminate exam questions, so it feels normal to them; and then we practice answer typical exam questions. This way, on the day, the first thing the student will do is go “what did Tovah say I needed to do first, oh that’s right, I’m going to read the questions and eliminate them until I know which one I’m going to answer”, rather than sit there looking at a new exam paper and format than they are used to in the classroom and feel overwhelmed and confused.

Follow the NCEA process to help with your anxiety

It is very common for students to second guess themselves when they are in a new environment or undergoing new processes, this is why I think it is vital that students learn to feel comfortable with sitting exams. Half the battle is one as soon as they believe in themselves and remember what they have been practising with me.

So, my biggest advice to teachers and students alike – spend precious time practicing and becoming familiar with an NCEA examination paper and how to answer typical NCEA questions.

With guidance and advice from your teacher after each practice will also develop your confidence and certainty with what you need to write about and how to follow NCEA examination processes correctly.

All the best,

Tovah O'Neill

Tovah's Tutoring Company Ltd

NCEA tutorials for exam prep are available now:



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