This month’s tip from Rocky Biasi at Human Connections.  Learn more about ‘tapping’ techniques that can help manage stress at:

SYDNEY ONLY: Individuals (parents and students) may be interested in attending a workshop in Sydney during October run by Karen Gilles on enhancing self-awareness and self-understanding, which will also help stress management: Watch this YT video for more info:

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Recently a student sent this email: Hi I was wondering if you could do a tip on staying positive when you are stressed and feeling depressed as our exams are coming up and I have been feeling depressed lately and I think it would help.

It can be difficult to stay positive or “be up” as exams approach. The more important the exam the more stress we can feel. Worse, if we don’t do anything to make us feel good, stress can lead to anxiety and depression. There are many reasons why students feel this stress and depressed mood as examination dates approach.

  • Students receive distorted messages and perceptions about the importance of the exams, such as, “this can/will determine your future” etc.
  • With the pressure and stress of exams students avoid doing the work necessary to be prepared and as a result feel more overwhelmed, hopeless, anxious etc. Students can feel they have no control of their situation.
  • When we allow the pressure, stress and upset to build we can get into bad habits and let go of good habits. As a result students can feel more drained and exhausted and find it difficult or impossible to “climb out of the dark hole” they are in.

A holistic approach to boost wellbeing as exams approach 

The key to being positive and managing negative emotions such as anxiety and feeling down and depressed in any pressure situation including exams is to “fuel up”. It goes without saying that if students are exhausted, tired, stressed, depressed etc. it is very difficult if not impossible to deal with the pressure of exams. “Fuelling Up” is about boosting wellbeing factors in students’ lives. Students need to boost the wellbeing factors in their BODY, MIND and EMOTIONS.

Trying to “feel good” or be “positive” when the body is exhausted and depleted is impossible! This is something we all know yet many of us find it difficult to change.



Here are some things you can do to boost the energy in your BODY:

  • See a doctor.

Visit your doctor and get a check up. It’s important that any medical issues are ruled out because you may try some of the following tips without noticing any benefit while all along there may have been a medical issue that needed attention.

  • Get better sleep.

Feeling good starts with getting the right amount and type of sleep. Start with a good night-time routine. Stop anything that stimulates you such as caffeine or TV or computer, iPad or phone screens etc. for an hour before you go to bed. Try a warm drink such as chamomile tea and use essential oils such as lavender oil. Having a soothing bath or shower can also help along with gentle stretching of tight or tense muscles. If you still feel you are not getting a “good” sleep be sure to see your doctor.

  • Eat in Moderation

Never skip a meal, especially breakfast. Breakfast replenishes your body and helps you start your day full of energy. Eat three main meals, and two to three snack meals a day. Eating five to six times in a day keeps your blood sugar levels balanced, giving you an overall sense of well-being needed for focusing on your tasks and responsibilities.

  • Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise, at least three times per week for a minimum of 30 minute sessions, can virtually “soak up” stress chemicals in your body and help you to relax and even sleep better. Brisk walking, aerobic classes, swimming, bike riding, or jogging are great exercises to release stress buildup and relax your body and mind to either start or end your day right.


Here are some things you can do to THINK more positively: 

  • Change your thinking and perceptions

Write down your top 5 fears and worries. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Then ask yourself, “IS THAT TRUE”? Usually fears and worries are not based on reality but on imagined scenarios that have little to no evidence. If it’s something that can’t be changed bring acceptance to it. It is what it is for now!

  • Change your focus

Have you noticed that what we worry about we make bigger and keep closer to us by the way we think and focus. Try this…make your fears and worries SMALL in size (5 cm in height) DARK in brightness and as far away as possible in DISTANCE. When we change the size, brightness and distance of the things that upset us in our minds it reduces the intensity of the emotion.


Here are some things you can do to FEEL more positive:

  • Acts of kindness

Make a list of 5 acts of kindness you can do every day. Make them simple acts of kindness that are easy to do such as saying thank you etc. Do these 5 acts of kindness every day for 6 weeks. The research shows that people that do this and think of 3 good things in their life (as above) have a dramatic positive boost in their mood.

  • 3 good things exercisegood day 1 col

Every day at the start and end of your day think of 3 good things that happened. Write them down. Then think about either WHY those good things happened or how it MADE YOU FEEL when those good things happened.


If your school subscribes to  you can learn more about how to prepare for exams and manage stress with your schoolwork by working through the units on the site. Check if your school subscribes here.

Prue Salter
Enhanced Learning Educational Services
The study skills specialist!
Study Skills Resources:
Online Study Skills Handbook:

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Even though parents and teachers tell students that multi-tasking is not an effective way to work, sometimes students just don’t believe them! They think they are different, they think it is just something parents and teachers say with no evidence. So here are some academic research studies to demonstrate to students where the proof is coming from to show that multi-tasking personal activities and schoolwork just doesn’t work.

Ellis, Y., Daniels, W. and Jauregui, A. (2010). The effect of multitasking on the grade performance of business students. Research in Higher Education Journal, 8
In this study, 62 university students were taking an accounting course. During a lecture, half were allowed to text and half had their phones turned off. After the lecture there was a quiz and those students who did not text scored much higher marks than those who were texting at the same time that they were trying to listen to the lecture.

stayingfocusedRESEARCH STUDY 2
Kraushaar, J. M. and Novak, D. C. (2010). Examining the affects of student multitasking with laptops during lecture. Journal of Information Systems Education, 21 (2), 241-251.
In this study 97 students were using laptops during a 15 week management information systems course. A spyware program had been installed on all laptops to track what students did on their laptop looking at productive work versus distractive software (games, instant messages, web browsing, social media). Students who tried to listen to the lecture while using these distractive windows had significantly lower scores on homework, projects, quizzes, final exams and final course averages. The researchers also found that students under reported the extent of their multi-tasking – this means they were actually multi-tasking much more than they even realised.

Bowman, L. L., Levine, L. E., Waite, B. M. and Dendron, M. (2010). Can students really multitask? An experimental study of instant messaging while reading. Computers & Education, 54, 927-931.
Students in a psychology course had to read on their computer screen a 4000 word document. There were 3 groups. One used instant messaging before they started reading, one used instant messaging while they were reading, and a third group just read the document with no instant messaging. The group who did instant messaging while they were reading took between 22% to 59% longer to read the passage – and that was with the time spent messaging subtracted!

Fried, C. B. (2008). In-class laptop use and its effects on student learning. Computers and Education, 50 (3), 906-914.
Students in a psychology course completed weekly surveys on their use of laptops during class. The study found that the more students used their laptops in class the lower was their performance and their understanding of the lectures.

If your school subscribes to  you can learn more about how to improve your results and be more efficient and effective with your schoolwork by working through the units on the site. Check if your school subscribes here.

Prue Salter
Enhanced Learning Educational Services
The study skills specialist!
Study Skills Resources:
Online Study Skills Handbook:

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August 1, 2014

Where can students find help when they are struggling at school? The following information will help you give guidance depending on the type of issue:   ADVICE FOR STUDENTS HAVING PERSONAL ISSUES If things in your life are upsetting you or stressing you this will affect your ability to learn effectively. Talk to your family, […]

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July 1, 2014

Seven Quick Tips to Help Your Student Relax The daily demands of life, such as exams, peer pressure, and homework assignments, or the challenges of relationships, family, or not making it on a sporting team can lead to an overwhelming feeling of stress. What students need to learn is how to cope with these situations in order to […]

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June 1, 2014

Many students when they come home from school end up just waiting until they might ‘feel’ like doing schoolwork. Or else they drag the work out over the whole night. A much better way to work is each night have set allocated times for schoolwork, 2-3 half hour blocks. During this time students should do homework […]

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May 1, 2014

Do you have a student who is riding a rollercoaster at school? Rollercoaster study is where students stay up late doing last minute assignments, then they take it easy for a while and do very little, then panic again when something is due and have to spend huge amounts of time at the end completing the work. If students […]

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March 31, 2014

Homework in secondary school serves many purposes. It could be to consolidate or check or extend the learning from the day or prepare for the learning to come in subsequent days. It could be to do with longer term work such as assignments or preparing for tests and examinations. Ultimately it comes back to what […]

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March 1, 2014

Here are 5 reasons you can give your students as to why they should start working on their assignments immediately. 1. GET YOUR BRAIN THINKING ABOUT THE TOPIC: Even if your assignment isn’t due for weeks, start thinking about it immediately. At the very least, answer the key starter questions on the day you get your assignment. […]

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January 31, 2014

Every parent and teacher would like to see students achieving their personal academic best at school. Knowing how to work efficiently can help students navigate the mire of academic demands in secondary school in a stress-free way. Here are the top five tips for your students about making the most of their time at school this […]

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January 1, 2014

This month’s post is a guest post from Skylar Anderson. Skylar Anderson is a Seminar Director at StudyRight. He graduated summa cum laude from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree. He has been helping students simplify their studies and get the most from their education through StudyRight since 2011. […]

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