The graduating class of 2023 is busy practising essays and memorising theorems as they sit the final HSC and VCE exams.
Final exams are often a time of intense stress and pressure for students hoping their leaving score will secure a spot in Australia's higher education institutions.
"Parents, carers and other people around students are often in a good position to spot the signs that a student's stress levels may be unhealthy," director of service at ReachOut Jackie Hallan said.
"For example, if the student isn't sleeping, is not eating properly or not showing an interest in the things that are important to them it could mean they need some extra support right now."
Students experiencing stress might feel moody or overwhelmed, have difficulties with decision making, a lack of motivation, muscle tension, headaches and fidgeting, ReachOut said.
Unhealthy stress levels are different for each student and regular check-ins help parents stay abreast of their teen's individual needs.
Exams are not the end
Achieving high scores on Year 12 exams are one of many ways to access future education and employment.
Cameron Trought, 24, had hoped to start medical school and was crushed to hear he hadn't made the cut after his HSC exams.
"I didn't think it at the time, but honestly missing out on medical school has been the best thing that's ever happened, because it redirected my life into something much more rewarding," he said.
Mr Trought works at the Heart Research Institute (HRI), helping to create a new generation of effective blood thinners to dissolve stroke causing blood clots.
"I had friends get in [to medical school] and are now on their way to being doctors, but when I look at what I get to do, to be at the absolute coalface of medical research, I know I made the right choice," he said.
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Tips to maximise study time
Try the 20-minute rule or pomodoro technique. Break study sessions into achievable periods of concentration with rests to keep the brain stimulated, ReachOut said.
Not all stress is bad. Harness the concentration that stress brings but recognise when it changes from "a motivating force to an overwhelming emotion".
"Learning out loud" can be an effective way to retain information by verbalising study material, even when cramming alone.
Study breaks are great but constant distractions are bad. ReachOut recommends taking planned and timed breaks to help students "remain on task".
"Checking your socials every 5 minutes is a sure-fire study fail. Research shows that it can take up to
twenty minutes to refocus on your task once you've been distracted."
Research also supports the case for a good night's sleep when retaining or memorising information. So remember "sleep is your friend", ReachOut said.
Apps for concentration and time-management
Atmosphere: Relaxing Sounds
The free app Atmosphere: Relaxing Sounds allows users to build a soundscape to reflect the listener's happy place.
There are sounds from the beach, forest, urban areas, underwater, at home, the countryside, sounds from East Asia and musical instruments.
Listeners can tailor a gentle soundscape with a crackling fire, rain hitting the windows and windchimes.
Or even rowing on the ocean during a storm.
Habitica is a habit-building, free productivity app that allows users to turn their chores into a game, battling monsters and collaborating with friends.
Track habits, goals and earn rewards for ticking off tasks.
Smiling Mind is a mindfulness meditation app with programs to manage stress, anxiety and depression.
The app has 300 free programs on topics including resilience, general wellbeing, sleep, relationships and self-awareness.
Smiling Mind also includes programs in a number of different Aboriginal languages like Kriol, Ngaanyatjarra and Pitjantjatjara in collaboration with the Central Australia's NPY Women's Council.
Keep exams in perspective
The final Year 12 exams can be really overwhelming and it can feel like the culmination of 13 years of schooling for students, Ms Hallan said.
"Often parents and carers can feel stressed as well because providing emotional and practical support for your teen isn't always easy," she said.
"Parents and carers have often played an important role in their teen's education journey so a lot of feelings can come up for them at this time.
Ms Hallan recommends mindfulness as a "good tool that both students and parents can use to stay in the moment" and help to ease the pressure of these exams.
"For example, it could look like scheduling times for regular walks together during the exam block and using that time to notice things like the trees or the weather that day," she said.
How to best support a student at home
"Parents, carers and families can play a really important role in the lives of Year 12 students, including at exam time," Ms Hallan said.
She recommends asking teens to rank how they're feeling from one to 10.
"A simple tool like this can help parents and carers gauge over time if their young person's mood is improving or worsening and what support they might need," she said.
"Practical support can be really important too.
"That could be something like lightening the load for your teen when it comes to their chores around exam times or making sure they have healthy meals and snacks on hand."
Each Year 12 student has unique needs and requires support based on their own situation, Ms Hallan said.
As NSW Premier Chris Minns said to students embarking on the 2023 exam season "do your best - that is all anyone can ask of you".