Exams begin for thousands of Scottish school pupils

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This year's exam season is getting under way in schools and colleges across Scotland.

The exams taking place on Thursday are physical education, Latin, administration and IT, and the mathematics of mechanics.

More than 126,000 pupils will sit more than 500,000 individual exams over the next five weeks.

National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher exams will take place in more than 450 schools and colleges.

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In addition, many thousands of young people are in the final stages of completing National 1 to 4 qualifications, Skills for Work courses and other awards that are continually assessed throughout the year.

This is the first year that students will face revised assessments for courses at Higher level after the withdrawal of internal unit assessments.

Like awards at National 5 level, Higher candidates' final grades are based on a combination of formally-assessed coursework and their final exam.

How can you deal with exam stress?

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Earlier this week the mental health charity SAMH launched its Testing Times campaign, offering advice on the best ways to cope with the stress and anxiety that can be caused by exams.

Its tips include:

  • Keep yourself and your revision fresh - alternate where you work between places that make you feel calm
  • Stop revising at least an hour before bed
  • Do not compare yourself with your friends - this can add to anxiety
  • Eat well and avoid fast food and energy drinks
  • Take regular breaks from studying
  • Allow time to exercise - this can release endorphins which can help you feel good

SAMH said the campaign was aimed at raising awareness and equipping more young people with the tools to manage the stresses of exams.

What happens after students have sat their exams?

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Candidates will receive their results on Tuesday 6 August.

The qualifications agency the SQA spends months every year carefully preparing exam papers and distributing them.

It aims to ensure that exams are consistent from year to year to avoid allegations that they are getting easier or harder.

After the papers are marked, the exact pass mark and the marks needed for particular grades are set.

They vary from year to year, as papers can always turn out to be slightly easier or harder than anticipated.

Students who want to receive their results by text or email can still register for the service on the SQA's website.

SQA's chief executive Dr Janet Brown said: "At all levels, our qualifications provide candidates with the opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and understanding they've acquired and prepare them for further study, employment, or training.

"Our qualifications are robust, relevant, and designed to equip young people with a wide range of skills."