For many children exams are a do or die situation. They attach so much importance to it that failure is unthinkable. In fact they stress themselves out so much that it affects them physically, mentally and emotionally. Agreed, exams are an important part of life, more so for someone who wants to achieve accolades academically, but learning to handle exam stress is equally important else it can lead to fatal consequences. Here are some tips on how to deal with stress during examination:-
• Start studying early - One sure way to beat exam stress is to start studying early. You can actually start as soon as a class in over, by going over your notes and making sure you understand them. Start preparing for the exam right from the time that they are announced. You can go a step further and think of the possible questions that the teacher might ask the class and try answering them. Starting early is halfway there.
• Time management is important - The amount of time available to prepare for an exam is always limited and it would be best to plan how you will spend it in preparation. Always allow some time for schedule overruns and don’t make out an impossible–to–follow schedule. Schedules must be tight so that you do feel some pressure in sitting down for preparation.
• Eat right and take adequate rest - Take care that you eat right and get enough sleep. Don’t reach out for junk food. It only harms you in the long run. Sleep is very important. It helps the brain to assimilate all that you have studied and form memories, and refreshes your mind for further studying.
• Practice for the tests - Practice makes perfect and if your teacher does not give any practice tests, try it out with a friend or two.
• Relaxing is important - Learn to relax during this period. Set aside some time for relaxation. Maybe take a day or two off from studies or schedule some kind of rest day. Doing something different allows you to come back to your studies with a fresh energy. Deep breaths always help to relax the mind, but you can try anything that works for you – music, painting or just pottering around the house.
• A bit of introspection - When things seem impossible or when it all appears too much, visualise your success at the end of the examination. This can inspire you to keep going on.
• Talk it out - If you feel the need to let off some steam, you can talk to someone – a parent, or a teacher or a friend. They may be able to put the lid on it and help you to see things differently.
• Tackling the question paper - At the examination itself, look over the question paper carefully. Read all the instructions with attention so that any goof up is prevented. Divide your time for the different answers and pace yourself. Do not panic if you feel the paper is way above your preparation level. Start writing and you may be able to do better than you thought. Do not give into panic attacks and stay calm.
Keep in mind that a little bit of stress is good. It helps you to perform better, but just be sure you can handle it.