ONE psychologist is reminding year 12 students the HSC is not the be-all and end-all.
James Reilly is a psychologist with headspace and he said this time of year could bring on a lot of stress for the region's youngsters.
Mr Reilly said the final exams didn't just affect the students.
"I think the HSC does create a very high level of stress for young people; the students having to do it and their families around them, their parents and their siblings," Mr Reilly said.
I think the HSC does create a very high level of stress for young people.Psychologist James Reilly
"It is a very stressful time for everyone."
He said the HSC wasn't the only gateway to a young person's aspirations and opportunities.
"There are other pathways to achieve things you want to achieve," he said.
"It is only one way of getting in to achieve your opportunities."
The headspace psychologist had a few tips for year 12 students preparing for their final exams.
"We talk about having to get regular sleep to look after themselves and to keep their mental health hygiene up," he said.
"And to be able to plan and have break in their study time so they don't exhaust themselves which can affect mental health as well."
A recent nationwide survey found up to 40 per cent of regional students were experiencing high levels of exam stress.
The survey conducted by ReachOut found a lot of the pressure was coming from within.
Sixty-three per cent of students in regional NSW said exam stress was driven by a self-generated pressure to succeed.
"We know that external factors like the drought can have a big impact on stress levels in regional students on top of the pressure of looming exams," ReachOut chief executive officer Ashley de Silva said.
"We want to encourage students feeling like their stress is at an unhealthy level and affecting other parts of their life to seek support and that could be talking to a trusted adult, their GP or visiting ReachOut.com."
Mr de Silva encouraged young people to seek help if the exam pressure became too much.
"While some study stress is normal and can help improve performance, it can grow into a major problem," he said. "So, whilst trying to get the balance right between studying and self-care can be tricky, it is key to keeping stress at a manageable level."