Sarah (16), Lieve and Alicia (15) discovered how a punching bag, virtual reality and yoga help with exam stress.

Sarah (16), Lieve and Alicia (15) discovered how a punching bag, virtual reality and yoga help with exam stress.
Sarah (16), Lieve and Alicia (15) discovered how a punching bag, virtual reality and yoga help with exam stress.

One has bought a punching bag, the other is making lists. Yet another does not suffer from exam stress. While it happens a lot. “This also made us stressed again.”

They had a month and a half for their profile paper. “That seems like a lot, but in the meantime everything continued as usual,” says Sarah Nauta. And then there was a somewhat messy run-up, which Sarah (16) and her classmates Lieve Fräser and Alicia de Moor (both 15) explain in scents and colors in the profile paper: ‘slow, tiring and stressful.’

Sweating in the gym

Lieve: “We wanted to do something with stress, we find that interesting. We thought sport and stress would be fun, but that was too broad.” Make it personal, was the advice of their supervisors. And suddenly they were on the right track: exam stress. And especially: what can their school, Piter Jelles !mpulse, do about it?

Because in a few months it will be that time again. Then Sarah, Lieve and Alicia are also sitting in a gymnasium, sweating with about a hundred fellow students. Sarah and Lieve dread biology – “a lot of material” – and Alicia finds economics the most difficult.

How do you deal with that stress? The girls now know that this differs per student. Also within their group. Sarah and Lieve can sometimes fall prey to exam stress; Alicia has that a lot less.

Punching ball

Sarah recently bought a real punching bag. To knock out the stress. It helps: “Just give it a good whack and then you can continue.” Lieve likes to make lists of things she needs to do to alleviate stress.

And of course Alicia sometimes feels stressed, but in general she is blessed with an ‘everything will be fine’ belief. The other two can then benefit from this.

The three wanted their profile paper to ultimately contain a list of recommendations to their school, with which !mpulse can work to properly guide and reduce exam stress among students.


To collect information, they conducted a survey among fellow students, completed a one-day internship at a psychology practice and interviewed their exam coordinator and someone from a company that helps with ‘stress and mindset’.

At the psychology practice they saw, among other things, that sports can help against exam stress. And from the survey results of their schoolmates, they concluded that the subject of their profile paper is alive and well. “There was more stress than we thought in advance. And the profile paper itself also made us stressed again.”

Sarah, Lieve and Alicia emphasize that stress is not necessarily bad. It can help you react sharply or quickly in certain situations. Prolonged or severe stress can be harmful to health.

Virtual reality

In their profile paper, the students describe eight recommendations for their school. What if they can introduce one immediately tomorrow? That would be the ‘stress measurement’ at the start of the weekly coaching hour. Each student can then indicate how stressed he or she is when entering the room. “Everyone can express themselves there in a safe situation.”

Other recommendations they make are spreading deadlines and a special budget for ‘stress relief’. For example, you can use that money virtual reality glasses or sports equipment.

Special spaces for stress relief can also help, Lieve, Sarah and Alicia think. ‘One focuses on relaxation, such as yoga and meditation, and the other focuses on action, such as a treadmill, a punching bag, a cross trainer or weights. Both activities have a positive effect on someone who experiences stress,’ they write in their paper.

A meeting with a school administrator is planned: the girls hope that at least a few of their recommendations will be adopted.

And how are they doing with their own exam stress? “That’s going a lot better, yes,” says Sarah. On to the gym.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Sarah Lieve Alicia discovered punching bag virtual reality yoga exam stress


PREV Why we turn our noses up at second-hand clothing: ‘A musty smell discourages you from browsing’
NEXT Dual screen ASUS ZenBook Duo Review