10 Definitive Ways to deal with exam stress

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Exam, Tips

The word ‘exam’ brings shivers to the best of us, no matter how well we are in academics. The very thought of answering a battery of questions, within a stipulated time, in a set format, can shake titans. Yet, exams are a reality of our Indian education system, so it’s futile to wish their existence away.

The best of students can crumble to the sheer pressure of performing well in examinations. In our country, academic brilliance and success in life are equated to performance in exams, and failures or laggards are looked down upon by our society. This very thought – that everything hinges on marks and exam results – causes unimaginable stress and can lead to nervous or emotional breakdowns in students. Many students, otherwise excellent in grasping concepts or memorizing formulae, forget everything in the examination hall due to nervousness and anxiety.

Students can, however, change their outlook towards examinations, and adopt some ways of dealing with the accompanying stress and anxiety. 

Some Exam tips are listed below.

Do’s:

  • Study calmly and consistently throughout the academic year. Don’t leave things for the last minute. Re-read and study whatever is taught in class at home, the very same day. If possible, do this with all subjects. If you read up regularly, you can catch up with what the teacher is teaching and also clarify doubts immediately.
  • Write down, in short, the important points of all chapters. For example, if you are studying Gupta dynasty in History, write down the name of the kings, their achievements, the dates of important wars they fought, and military and social developments in their reign, all in bullet points. Similarly, if you are reading speed and motion in Physics, write down bullet points on all the theories and formulae. Make a separate notebook/journal for each subject, which will have your summaries and points. This becomes a ready reckoner during exam time.
Exam, Tips
  • Ask for help from parents, siblings or friends. It helps if someone assists you in memorizing facts. If you need help, seek it.
  • Take your meals in time and get adequate rest.

If you are malnourished or snacking on unhealthy food during studies, your brain will not function at its best. Nutrition of the brain is directly linked to what you eat during meals. Similarly, if you are up studying till late at night, make sure to catch up on sleep at some other time, or your tired body will simply refuse to cooperate in the exam hall. Often the brightest students cannot remember vital points during exams, as their brains are too exhausted from over work. 

Exam, Tips
  • Relax and remember to take deep breaths to keep your nervousness in check. You need to prepare to give your best efforts without unduly stressing your mind. Do a spot of meditation or positive visualization. Think about your strengths and write them down. Do deep breathing, observing every intake and exhalation of breath. Pray to the God/Supreme Power you believe in. Relaxation techniques will help calm your mind.

Don’ts:

  • Let the tension of performing well overpower you. Tension and anxiety fog the mind and paralyze the body. Your natural responses are missing when you are stressed. Tell yourself that this exam is not the end of the world, that you will have many more such opportunities in your school/college life to prove your worth. 
Exam, Tips
  • Compare your preparations with those of others. Each one of us has our own way of absorbing inputs. We have our own schedules and time-tables. While some are able to memorize facts faster, some need to go over the matter again and again to be able to internalize it. It’s just not fair to compare your efforts with others.
  • Forget to take study breaks and do physical exercise. Exercise releases good hormones in the body and stimulates the brain to function optimally. Just because exams are around the corner, do not sit all the time at your desk with a book in hand. Remember “All work and no play made Jack a dull boy”? Your brain and body need fresh air, exercise and short breaks from studies every now and then. Walk around, do something creative like sketching or singing, or take a brisk walk to exert your muscles, and come back refreshed at your study table. Trust me, this works better than continuous monotonous study routines. 

Be careful, however, not to spend too much time on social media and internet. Being online occasionally is fine, but social media tends to make you lose sight of time. Control how much time you log in. Mindless chatting and posting updates will eat up your precious study time. Read a story book or some comics instead.

  • Listen to rumour and gossip about what to study and what to leave out, and what is likely to be asked in the examinations. Misinformation and half knowledge are dangerous. Refer to your own study notes and points, and teacher’s advice on what is important. 
  • Take short cuts to success by planning to indulge in unfair means. Preparing to cheat in exams is far more strenuous and stressful than actually studying for doing well. Resist the urge to adopt this route to passing the exams. Even if you pass this exam without getting caught, you will be getting into a vicious habit that will ruin your peace of mind later. 

As a student, you need to be focused while remaining calm, determined without becoming obsessed, and curious without losing direction. You need to trust your own intuition, and have faith in your abilities. You need to retain a can-do spirit. 

So, in a nutshell:

  • Read, write down
  • Focus on understanding and internalizing rather than just memorizing
  • Sleep and eat properly
  • Take short breaks from studies 
  • Exercise
  • Move around, talk to family and friends, seek their help
  • Limit time on social media
  • Relax, calm yourself

All the best to all my young friends!! You can do it!!

Author: Barnali Roy from barnaliviews.blogspot.com

“She is a homemaker, writer, traveller, foodie, film critic, social commentator, and mother. Also, a content creator, and a soft skills and communication trainer with 15 years of professional experience. Having chosen family over career, she manages work-life balance by freelancing and working from home.”

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