If you fail an examination, it means you have yet to master the subject. With diligent study and understanding, you will succeed in passing the exams. With the ongoing Board Exams, students are seen totally stressed out. Endless efforts to learn and remember, it makes the students anxious and considering the current trend of tuitions / private coaching have further added fuel to fire. Ritanjali Hastir tries to figure a balance between student pressure as well as parent’s and school’s expectations!

In schools, teachers have limited time to teach the students. There are only about five to six lessons a week for most subjects, including English, Mathematics and Science. The time allotted is clearly insufficient for weak students to understand a particular subject. At the same time, teachers have less teaching time due to increasing paperwork and other duties. Teachers are forced to rush through the syllabus because of time constraints, thus leaving students in a lurch.

Parents, too, prefer to send their children for private tuitions as they want them to win the rat race that is to excel in their studies. They are willing to spend large amounts of money on tuition fees. Nowadays, due to work commitments or lack of understanding and knowledge of subjects taught today, parents too feel pressured to send their children for tuition just to keep them away from getting involved in undesirable activities or from idling their time away.

Left with no breathing space students are chocked and the stress begins to build up leading students into depression and many times they are seen taking refuge in drugs. In extreme cases students have even committed suicides.

Examination stress can be a real problem, especially when the stress reaches a height where nervousness takes over and the candidate cannot even focus on the test questions and do his best. However, there are steps you can take to keep stress at a manageable level.

Traditional strategies such as developing improved studying and examination-taking skills can make a significant difference. Stress management and physical health care enable the sufferer to lessen his stress level.

Examination stress is often treated using conventional prescription medicine. While there is a place for prescription medication, consideration and caution should be taken regarding possible side effects.

There are also many herbal and homeopathic remedies which can help maintain harmony, health and systemic balance in the brain and nervous system, without any side effects or sedation.

In dealing with stress, there are Do’s and Don’ts. The many Don’ts include not being negative or rushed or influenced by those more stressed than you. The Do’s include positive statements, natural breathing techniques and believing in oneself. After all, it is just an examination!

On the Test Day itself, be fresh and alert, think of past successes and put things into there right perspective with success visualization.

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. Researchers have uncovered some common explanations for this:

  • Low motivation levels;
  • Lack of preparation and planning;
  • High expectations from others;
  • Competition from peers.

The difference between a student who allows stress to overwhelm them and someone who uses it to push them harder is what they do when they are facing that brick wall mid-study. Admirable students will pause, reflect and choose a path that will help them overcome the impasse, not just wait for the wave to engulf them.

Outlined below are some unexpected ways that you can put those negative feelings on one side and concentrate on learning. If you’re not stuck for inspiration at this moment (maybe you’re procrastinating by reading this?), you may be looking for this advice before your exams so take note!

(i)      Listen to Music Music is a great therapy, especially classical music. It can create a positive and productive environment by elevating your mood and encouraging you to study more effectively and for longer periods.

(ii)     Take a Quick Walk — Research has proven that exercising such as taking a walk can boost your memory and brain power and hence make your memories better.

(iii)    Plan your Study Routine — With some initial effort, you can become more productive and motivated each day you approach your study by understanding your learning progress.

(iv)    Try to Get Enough Sleep — Benefits of a proper night’s sleep can never be underestimated. Most importantly, sleep helps your brain to assimilate new knowledge into your long-term memory so that you can recall it when it comes to test day.

(v)     Give Your Mind Space — Practicing meditation is another way to maintain focus while improving both mental and physical health to reduce pre-exam stress.

(vi)    Talk it All Out — Figure out what you’re feeling and then let it out. Speaking to a family member or friend can highlight the bigger picture for you and empower you to rise above the exam stress.

(vii)   Break Free from Distractions — It can be hard to detach from your life outside of studying but keeping the end goal and timeframe in mind, will help ease the process.

One should never forget that exams test your memory, life tests your learning; others will test your patience. The purpose of learning is not to give exams in class and forget about it, but to increase the knowledge.

Siddhi Chugh, +2 St. Francis Xavier’s School, Hissar

Examination gives so much stress that it is beyond explanation especially in Class XII. There was a time when competition was not there but now we have to face it all the time.

My entire year has been a continuous working day and night. It has been out of school classroom back to tuition and coaching centres. This is a crucial year for me as I can either make it or break it. So far I do not think I can imagine enjoying even a day. To be honest I feel going out is simply waste of time, and instead I can earn one extra mark.

Mrinal Sawroop Thakur, Class X, Loreto Convent Tara Hall, Shimla 

I just got promoted to Class X and since the day I received my promotion card, stress has started to build up. There was a time when I was spending my holidays with friends and family but this year I have got myself enrolled in coaching class because I do not want to waste even a single day to start preparing for next March’s Board Exams. My parents have certain expectations and I have no intentions to let them down. Yes, stress is there but in the end I feel that I will be able to conquer all my fears and have good grades.

Monika, Teacher, St. Francis Xavier’s School, Talwandi

Examination is always a nightmare for students and to some extent I personally feel that parents play a crucial role in building it up along with teachers.

We often fail to realize that each child is different as well as special. No doubt having good grades is important but that is not the end of life. Often stressed students fail to perform as per their original capability. We need to understand the limitation of each child and I am sure all of them can put their best foot forward if given proper environment and guidance.

Anuja, Teacher, Chapslee School, Shimla

There is a very thin line between encouragement and forcing things on children. Examination is not a monster as everyone has made it look like. With proper guidance and encouragement, there is nothing that a child cannot attain. In school and at home only one note is repeated its Board Exams. Yes, it is but nothing that cannot be cracked. Children should be given an opportunity to have a free mind and life should not be made a mechanical routine because of the exams. A free mind can perform better than one with stress.

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