Exam Stress

Exam time is a time when a lot rides on every moment of the hour-and if it is the board year, every single moment is loaded with tons of baggage. There are constant reminders to get ‘serious’ , focus more, study hard and stay away from ‘distractions’. Most of the extracurricular periods go into extra practice and revisions. You are always under the scanner to ensure you are not whiling away your time. The outings and entertaining friends is curtailed. No one seems to be leaving anything undone on their part for YOUR exams.

Does it all really help?

Yes and No both! During this phase of the session it essentially helps if you have the guidance and support. But, how and to what extent has to be mutually discussed and agreed. With most schools following the CCE pattern, you are continuously working round the year with FAs, SAs, preparatory etc. Add to that the commute time and school hours, 8 to 10 hours of the day is spent on an average in school or for school. Assignments, projects, curricular/co-curricular classes etc need to be looked into during the remaining awake time. Mobile chats and presence on social media due to peer pressure eats into your social, sleep and play time. Guidance, check and support of teachers and parents will surely help you handle these challenges. But, if done collaboratively it will be relaxing for you else might be irritating to you.

Don’t create exam anxiety?

With exams approaching most of us start losing appetite, get irritated faster and regularly feel some rumbling and uneasy feeling in our stomach. It happens because consciously or unconsciously we give ourselves daily reminders that the exams are approaching or this is a very significant exam in our career. This creates a panic mode that exams or boards are some kinda aliens which we need to fight with. And as in any fight, one will win and one will lose. The fear of losing sets all our senses to act and react excessively. The danger perception sets our human mind in fight or flight mode. The fighter in us will take more stress, eat and sleep less, get irritated more and study more. More fight brings high expectation from self and higher self imposed pressure to win.

Other part in us will try to flight. We will eat and sleep more to avoid fighting that alien. We will show more anger and aggressiveness. Might fall ill or will avoid being at home or school. To overcome our fear, we keep convincing ourselves and others that we cannot win over exams.

All this pushes us closer to stress and away from exams.

Be your own help?

First step is to ease out and be ‘WITH’ yourself and not ‘ON’ yourself. Involve yourself into regular co-curricular activities. Read and listen to music often. Talk more – to teachers, parents and friends. This will help them understand you and support you better. They will know when and how you need rejuvenating breaks.

Ask specifically and explicitly. Don’t hesitate or keep your doubts, fears and queries with you. Go in pairs or groups if that comforts you more. Your peers and friends are also in the same mode. Even if they don’t acknowledge, all will benefit from this.

Give more time to work. Ask someone to be your alarm bell by reminding and helping you to be back on track when they notice the signs of flight. A nudge and assurance from them that there is no need and option to run will assist you to achieve.

Time Management is the key.

Before and during exams there is lot of noise about time management. Advises vary from finishing the harder portions first to prepare the last exam first. Or to prepare the subject which has less leaves before to doing the scoring topics first.

You shall make your time plan based on your interest and speed. The subject which you have more interest in shall be interspersed with subject you find difficult or relatively ‘boring’. Theory portions interspersed with practice portions like Maths or diagrams also helps to increase efficacy of preparation. You need to keep in mind that initially our learning speed stays generally slow and we pick up speed only once the exams start approaching. The allocation of time shall be done considering this. Short spans of ‘me’ time shall be factored in to charge your batteries again. This could include few strokes of abstract painting, listening to music, setting yourself a snack or just a simple walk in the open. Discuss your preferred time to study and also about what areas or distractions you need help with. Freeze on the broader plan and schedule. Keep it realistic and do ask someone to remind you about the deviations noticed.

Remember and remind yourself that exams are a regular part of the session and taking it nothing more than an action packed time will help you sail through it in a more relaxed way.

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