Are Exams Stressing Out Your Teen?

Surviving Mid Terms


It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

No, we aren’t referring to Christmas – it’s High School Mid Term Exams! Who isn’t excited to have stressed out, agitated, annoyed, sleep-deprived teens on their hands? This year, let RSG take some of the pain away with our Tips for Surviving Mid Terms.

The three main issues we’ve seen with teens during high school mid-term exams are:

  1. Lack of SLEEP

  2. Lack of FOCUS during study time

  3. STRESS that accompanies just thinking about all of the studying that needs to be done



To tackle these issues we’ve enlisted some of our 5 Minute Insight experts for advice:

Sheri Damon, licensed mental health counselor, Foundation for Learning & Inspiring Health and Healing (FLIHH), has these tips for us:

  1. Eat, sleep breathe –  the brain (and hence memory and production) does not work as well when it’s exhausted and malnourished. Kids/teens/college students will often “pull an all-nighter” to zone into their studies, but self care is essential for optimal brain functioning. Think protein, hydration, breathing/mindfulness/ meditation (even a couple of deep belly breaths can settle the body) to fuel the body for mid-terms.

RSG TIP: Skip the frozen pancakes and cereal with no fiber to fill them up. Instead make a healthy omelette packed with brain food like avocados and spinach. Add a side of fruit with blueberries and you might be quickly enrolling them in Mensa! Other brain food ideas can be found here!


  1. Low-tech help.  Remember that the brain can get very over charged with technology use. Having some hand-written study guides and simple lighting before bed can allow the brain to start to prepare for rest. Sleep is essential for memory and production.

RSG TIP: REMOVE ALL ELECTRONICS at bedtime. If lights are out at 10:00, put phones and iPads out of their rooms at 9:30. Ideally you should have them remove electronics an hour before bedtime. Let’s face it, we will take any improvements we can get!
mid term examsIf your teen can’t fall asleep HERE are some ideas you might want to try.
Cleveland Clinic also has great tips on how to help teens sleep better.



  1. Sensory soothing.  Our bodies get stressed by all sorts of life events – common cold, test prep, weather etc. A few moments each day for sensory soothing to help reset the body is extremely helpful. What do you like the smell, sound, feel, look of? Engage in that for a few minutes (a cup of warm cocoa really feeling the warmth, smelling the aroma, tasting… or a hot bath with good smelling bath balm…).

RSG TIP: Try Pinch Me aromatherpy or maybe some Lush Bath Bombs!


Lorie Kram, educator, consultant & founder of BLUBERYL, a strengths-based productivity coaching company, has these hints for study success:

First of all, remember that exam time does not have to be stressful. For best results, it should be orderly and calm.

When exams are upon us, our two favorite BLUBERYL tips are:

  1. Schedule, schedule, schedule

mid term examsTo create a useful study schedule, put the exam dates on a calendar and work backwards to create study sessions of approximately 45 minutes each. It’s best to begin reviewing for an exam at least one week in advance with 10-minute study breaks between each study session.

2. Stay calm and focused!

To help stay calm and focused, plan study sessions at your house or with another student and mom — or two! Hosting study sessions with healthy food offered between 45-minute study sessions is best. Moms can reduce the students’ anxiety simply with their reassuring presence. There’s nothing you need to do as a study session host other than provide the snacks and stay available. A mom’s positive attitude can work miracles on teens preparing for exams.


Contrary to what your teen might tell you, parents can help alleviate stress during what is surely one of the most pressure-packed weeks of their young lives. Although a couple of these suggestions go against our day-to-day recommendations for daily living with teens (making them breakfast, no way!), during exam time it’s important to cater to them just a little. Teaching them how to take extra care of themselves during pressure-packed situations when Mom isn’t around is a good thing! 😉


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