An exam can be a challenging part of a student’s life. Having some stress can motivate us to work harder to achieve our goals.
However, exam pressure can cause anxiety, which may negatively affect our performance.
According to a survey by National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT), nearly 80 percent students from 9th till 12th class suffer from examination stress in India. Over three lakh students were mapped for this study and this shocking finding is a serious wake up call. Though educational institutions such as the top IB schools in India and parents across the country have been taking proactive measures to help students in coping with examination pressure in an effective way, a lot more needs to be done to help students navigate through this difficult time.
Identifying the causes & signs of examination stress
With the focus on a future career and ensuring excellent academic performance in today’s fast paced world, many students are suffering from exam stress leading to a negative impact on their social, emotional and physical well-being.
Throughout the last two decades, exam pressure has only increased, and besides anxiety over not meeting the expectations of teachers, parents, and in some cases, students themselves, it can be a very difficult time.
Experts opine that every child has his own strengths and weaknesses, and instead of foisting their expectations, parents should be more mindful of encouraging their children to work hard and giving them constant assurance. It’s best to avoid comparing your child with other child as everyone has his/her own strengths and weaknesses.
There have been multiple cases when students who have not excelled in academics, gone on to be future change makers and influencers across the globe. Therefore, experts caution parents against having a myopic approach to their children’s performance. Rather the focus should be on boosting their self-belief, confidence and empowering them to take the right decisions.
In some cases, back-breaking competition or sometimes lack of preparation for exams can also lead to a lot of stress and anxiety. Student performance and overall well-being can be negatively affected when stress becomes overwhelming
What are the signs of exam stress?
There are always tell-tale signs of stress. The most obvious ones include nail biting, restlessness, irritability, fidgeting and demotivation. Some additional signs include:
Feeling confused and not wanting to socialise with any friends or family. Keeping oneself isolated and being non-communicative.
- Depression, negative thoughts and feeling low.
Loss of appetite and in certain cases sudden weight loss, nervousness, inability to rest and also, sleep deprivation.
- Feeling very burnt out and overwhelmed.
Inability to make decisions or feeling lack of confidence, low self- esteem and feeling a lack of motivation to do anything.
Headache, bodyache and tense muscles alongside an upset stomach are also signs of stress and anxiety.
How to cope with exam stress
Even though exams are a deciding point of how much one may have imbibed in academics, it is not the only factor that will impact future careers. Bearing this in mind, here are some tips which will help the students in coping with the exam pressure in an effective way.
Mark a schedule: It’s always best to create a timetable where you study subjects on a regular basis while taking frequent breaks for hydration, snacks, meals & unwinding activities.
Play time: It’s important to keep oneself in a good physical and mental shape. This can be achieved by going for a brisk walk, undertaking a sports activity, reading books, listening to music, indulging in some screen time and other activities of interest.
Prioritise:All subjects are equally important. It’s always best to focus on weaker points and give more attention to them. Do not forget the golden rule of revising constantly.
It’s natural to feel nervous or anxious before a taskInstead of keeping emotions bottled up, speak to your family, friends or a professional counsellor to share your fears and stress. This will help you keep a positive frame of mind while feeling lighter.
Never forget that life is more than just a test score, so be kind to yourself, laugh, and learn from life. Keep a balance between your drive to perform well in exams and pursuing your hobbies and passion. Use positive affirmations to stay motivated, come what may, and embrace the upcoming exam season with utmost calm.
Genesis Global School provides a wide array of support for students. Our team consists of Learning Support Teachers, Academic Counsellors, Guidance Counsellors, University Placement Advisors, a School Doctor, English Language Remediation Teachers, Educational Psychologists and Occupational Therapists.