Top 5 Expert-Recommended Tips To Deal With Exam Stress
Final exams are around the corner and so is examination stress!
Exams are nothing you need to be stressed about
- Examination stress has an adverse impact on your child
- A healthy meal will help you keep your brain active
- A lot of examination stress stems from lack of preparation
Final exams are around the corner and examination stress, well it's on every possible corner! The idea of exams and fear of failure are two aspects which affect examination stress the most. It starts from the preparation, worsens during revision and is at its peak a couple of minutes before the exam. But how often do you realize that examination stress has an adverse impact on your child? With the severe academic competition in today's world, the level of stress that kids need to deal with is awfully high. But are we making any efforts to calm them down? Perhaps help them realize that exams are nothing you need to be stress about of or be afraid of.
Our expert, Dr Deepali Batra gives you the top 5 tried and tested techniques of combating examination stress. Take a look.
1. Light exercising
Examination is a time when you need to engage in mental workout, but physical workout, too, is important. Light intensity workout like engaging in simple stretching exercises can be helpful in refreshing your mind to get back to studies. A short cardio session or a quick game of badminton could be helpful. This way your energy levels will be high and you will be at your most productive. Limit it to 30 minutes a day so that you do not exhaust yourself completely.
2. Eat 5-6 meals
Stick to 5-6 regular meals throughout the day. Small meals taken at short intervals will help you maintain your energy levels and will prevent you from temptations. The standard 3 big meals a day concept will leave you unproductive both mentally and physically. A healthy meal will help you keep your brain active. Avoid caffeine.
3. Prepare well
A lot of examination stress stems from lack of preparation. When you happen to engage in selective studies or what you call, 'limited study', you end up being slightly unprepared. Make a proper plan, time your preparation, decide what you will do and when you will do it. Look at previous examination papers and try to understand the pattern. Know what could be a long-answer type question and what could be an objective question time. Divide your time slots and then follow that plan as religiously as you can. Dr Deepali recommends that you must focus on the more boring or difficult subjects when you are absolutely fresh, like the morning hours. And when you are absolutely exhausted, you must focus on the more interesting subjects.
4. Avoid stimulants like coffee
Dr Deepali recommends that students must keep away from caffeine during exmas. Don't force stimulants on your body during examinations. These include caffeine, medications and liquor. Drinking coffee during exams can slow you down. Medications and alcohol could make you forget what all you prepared. So keep away from these stimulants.
5. Sleep well
If you are under the impression that studying late at night and waking up early to study will help you do well in exams, you are mistaken. Instead, you must get adequate sleep before the day of the exam. This way your memory foundation process starts working. And if you are planning to learn something new, you will be most productive after you sleep. Lack of sleep can leave you unproductive and irritated. Dr Deepali says that a good 7-8 hour sleep is a must just the day before the exam.
Besides these, Dr Deepali gives a few tips for parents as to how they can help their kids deal with examination stress.
1. Help your kids organize their schedules.
2. Maintain a positive environment at home, try to avoid conflict-inducing discussions.
3. Express your confidence in your child.
4. Reinforce on them all their achievements on that day and before it.
5. Don't compare your child with other kids. Understand the fact that every child is different and so is their capability.
6. Focus on the present, do not focus on your child's past mistakes like poor performance or bad behavior.
7. Manage your own stress first. Parents tend to take a lot of pressure during this time which in turn affects the child.
8. Allow your child to take some breaks. Don't expect kids to study continuously for 2-3 hours. Allow them to take a break of 15-20 minutes after every 45 minutes of studying. But it is advisable to not allow kids to play games during this break. Instead, ask them to do some deep breathing, close their eyes or go for a walk.
9. Motivate your child to reduce the use of gadgets during this time. It could disturb your child's concentration and low interest in studies.
10. Don't be very critical. Be more emotionally available for your child. This will help in reducing your child's stress levels.
Tips for students...
Dr Deepali says that kids must engage in some self-talking as well. They must tell themselves things like, 'Calm down, this is just an exam. It is not my life'. Students must engage in some pleasurable activities during this time because taking a walk or deep breathing or relaxing oneself will help them retain things better. Give up on gadgets 2 months before your exams. Talk to parents about your anxieties or any person or get professional help if in need.
On the examination day, you must go to sleep on time, get at least 7-8 hours of sleep. 2 hours before your exam, you must stop studying and after it is over, don't discuss the paper with your friends. She says that for exams like Mathematics and Chemistry where formulas are involved, kids must write down the formulas on a sheet so that they can retain them for longer. Students must remind themselves constantly that exams are not the end of the world. Motivate yourselves that you are doing better, you are working hard and you will give your best.
Try studying with more fun techniques, like with the help of images and visual materials. Mind maps with colours, shapes and images will make studying fun and will improve your memory as well. Record the reading material in your own voice and listen to it over and over again. Use your different senses to learn your material.
(Dr Deepali Batra is a Senior Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Max Hospital)