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10 Ways to cope with Exam Stress

  By : , Kochi , India       6.3.2018         Phone:0484 669 9999          Mail Now
  Kuttisahib Road, Near Kothad Bridge, South Chittoor, Cheranalloor, Kochi, Kerala 682027
Dr Sandhya Cherkil, Neuropsychologist,
Aster Medcity, Kochi
Ms. Liza Cherian, Psychologist,
Aster Medcity, Kochi

What is Exam anxiety?

Have you ever felt that you experience sweaty palms and a hollow feeling in your stomach before an exam? These are the classic signs of experiencing exam anxiety.

Experiencing exam anxiety is very normal but when the degree of this anxiety crosses the normal and functional levels, it can result in debilitating effects.

Following tips could help a child from the adverse effects of exam anxiety and face exams confidently.

Learning without understanding the concept can lead to easy forgetfulness. Blind memorization is a sort of quick-fix to learning. Lack of good knowledge regarding the subject can add to the anxiety during exams. This kind of learning is not beneficial also because forgetfulness of a single word in the concept can result in forgetting the entire topic.

Making a detailed time schedule for every subject can help the child in managing his time productively. This can help the child in completing the preparation much before the exams. The time schedule should have adequate interval for other leisure activities. When formulating a timetable, you should make it in such a way that a difficult subject is given priority at a time when the child’s attention is at the peak, like in the morning. The easier subject should be focussed on at times like in the afternoon. The time interval for each subject should not go beyond 45 minutes to 1 hour. Beyond this time, the child will not be able to focus his attention.

The importance of model question papers and previous question papers should not be underestimated. These question papers will help the child evaluate himself and thereby provide confidence to face the exams. Doing several model question papers can also help the child get used to the examination set-up. This can help children with examination anxiety to a great level. An important point to keep in mind when doing the model question papers is the time taken to finish the paper should not exceed the time scheduled for an actual exam. This helps the child with time management giving them time for rechecking the answer scripts. Even on evaluating these model papers, the child should understand and learn from these mistakes thereby avoiding them in the exam.

It is difficult for the child to remember every point in a particular concept. Hence utilisation of mnemonics is a smart way of remembering point. Mnemonics refer to acronyms, songs, stories etc. There are different kinds of mnemonics, some of them are music mnemonic (just like remembering the lyrics to a song), name mnemonic (the first letter of each word is used to make the name of a person or a thing), word mnemonic (the first letter of the item is used to make an entire phrase), model mnemonic (a pictorial representation of the steps involved in a particular process can help with understanding and recalling the information).

Mind map is also another and most commonly used kind of mnemonic. A mind map will give a concise version of all the information pertaining to a particular topic. This can help the child remember during exams, thus avoiding confusions and anxiety. This also helps the child to easily revise in the morning of the exams. A commonly used mnemonic is VIBGYOR which stands for the colour of the rainbow in the correct order.

Once the child is familiarised with the exam pattern and the concepts of the subject, the child should be able to be confident. Losing confidence in oneself will only result in increased anxiety.

Comparing oneself with his peers or his siblings should be avoided. After all, each individual is unique and different. A child who is weak in one area will be strong in another domain, so it is the role of the teachers and parents to realise that and help him boost his confidence.

Nowadays, the current trend is to isolate the child from all leisure activities, the moment he/she reaches 10th grade. All the family conversation will be only about their academics and their future. This is often done by the parents to increase child’s interest in academics but it is not always that way. Very often, the child becomes bored and tired and develops a negative approach towards exams. The child becomes anxious about the exams and will not be able to perform well, inspite of his preparation.

During exams, the routine of the child should include not just studying but also other activities to refresh his body and mind. Good amount of physical activities, sleep and other leisure activities should be incorporated into his timetable.

“Pulling an all-nighter” is a new term that is used by the youngsters these days. This is one of the unhealthiest trend seen in school-going children. It is often believed that if the child studies the whole night before the exam, he will excel. But in contrary, this will lower his performance in the exam. The brain becomes tired and will not be able to function well in the exam hall. As a result, the child will sleep during the exam or will become less attentive and will not be able to focus his attention.

Skipping meals, eating junk food should be avoided especially during the exam time. With high prevalance of food poisoning and other infections, the child should be careful regarding his food habits. Nutritious food prepared at home should be consumed at the right time. His diet should be rich in all the necessary nutrients in the right amount. Meals should be eaten at the right time to ensure that the body has enough energy for the functions that the body needs to perform.

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