It is that time of the year when students are preparing for their exams. Board exams, school exams , college exams they are all lined up in March and April. As the academic sessions come to a close these exams can become a huge source of fear and worry for students and can impact their mental status.
For many students in secondary school and university, anxiety and stress can become a growing obstacle to their health and happiness and may affect their exam performance too.
Every student who aims to become a high-achiever generally experience exam stress. It’s an unavoidable part of student life that can be difficult to handle. Remember, stress exists for a reason and you can choose to let it be your downfall or use it to drive you to improve your work.
As a parent or guardian you may notice signs in your child of increased stress leading up to tests and formal exams. This may be evidenced by subtle mood swings, reduced appetite, sleeping problems, crying, panic, aggression or decreased motivation.
Tips to deal with exam stress:
1. Establish an Appropriate Study Spot Location is key when it comes to studying, and what works for one child might not work for another. The study spot needs to enable focus, concentration and an atmosphere for the student to absorb learning material.
2. Know What to Study Minimise panic and non-value downtime by adapting an organised workspace and logically aligning exam preparation in advance. A methodical approach to exam preparation proves beneficial.
3.Break Free from Distractions You never realise the number of times you check Facebook, Instagram or any other distraction unless you add the time together and realise the quantum of time wasted. Focus is the key word.
4. Rest, Activity and Sleep Keep some time aside for rest, non-study related activity and sleep. Going for a walk, continuing sport activities, reading a book can provide a positive release of built up stress.
5. Eat Healthy Lower the intake of carbs, sugar, caffeine and aim for more proteins, and fresh vegetables and fruit, to optimise concentration and general wellbeing. Healthy eating practices are essential during your study time.
6. Give Your Mind Space Meditation is one of the most effective ways to take a break and see your stress from a different perspective. Practicing meditation is another way to maintain focus while improving both mental and physical health to reduce pre-exam stress.
7. Seek professional help In case the stress levels are showing some harmful side effects on the health of the child, seek medicial help or meet a counsellor.
8. Understand the reasons behind the stress To combat exam stress, firstly you need to understand the reasons behind this heightened anxiety. Then you can establish methods to reduce the pressures you feel. Some common reasons are:
- Low motivation levels
- Lack of preparation and planning
- High expectations from others
- Competition from peers
9. Eating Dark Chocolate Eating dark chocolate which is over 70% cocoa fights the exam stress hormone cortisol and has an overall relaxing effect on the body. Plus chocolate releases endorphins which act as a natural stress fighter.
10. Let it All Out Sometimes you just need to talk to someone, and it is essential. Speaking to a family member or friend can highlight the bigger picture for you and empower you to rise above the exam stress.
How can parents help children to deal with this stress:
- Parents should guide their children in planning, organizing and setting a timetable.
- Encourage students with the right kind of positive conversations.
- Help the child to develop self-discipline, self-direction, self-confidence and a sense of achievement.
- Encourage a child’s performance with positive statements like , “well done” you can do better rather than saying “that was not enough”.
- Do not harp on previous failures of results.
- Try to gain your child’s confidence and discuss his problems with him, help him to find a solution.
- Remember always, exams are not the end of the world.
Is your child or a friend suffering from extreme exam stress? The team of psychologists at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital is well trained to deal with such cases. Please reach us at our below clinic for consultations.