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Articles » Exam Stress
A survey by Edge, an education foundation, has found that 48 percent of parents believe that they are more anxious than their children about the results, with one in ten reporting sleepless nights.

Examination stress is a universal phenomenon. In recent times however, exam stress has taken on a new definition. The times when anxiety about performance was endemic to only the students who were taking the exams are long gone. Today, it is common for both parents and their children to devote overwhelming amounts of time stressing about examination performance. An obvious concern for parents is their children's wellbeing. They want their children to have successful careers and comfortable lives. It is also a matter of social standing; it certainly helps to have well performing children to elevate parent's standing in social circles.

1. Avoid stressful people.
Stress actually is contagious. During exam week, resist the urge to have a study session with your super-tense friend, especially if she's complaining about all the work she has to do and breaking pencils all over the place. Her stress will only add to your stress.


2. Eat healthy and exercise.
This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s a wonder how many people forget it. Skip the sugar, which will make you crash, and go for snacks like granola bars, healthy cereal or fruits and veggies to keep your blood sugar stable. If you’re studying for a long period of time, eat some protein too. Also, try to get some form of exercise. Even a 10 minute walk will leave you calmer and more focused.

3. Just say NO.
I don’t mean to drugs, although I’m not recommending them. What you need to say no to are the people who want to take up your time. There will probably be a friend who needs to talk to you about her life, or a keg party the night before your final, and you’ll probably be tempted to blow off studying. Resist the urge. Say no to the distractions and be selfish. You want a good GPA, right.

4. Force yourself to take breaks.
For every hour or so that you work, take a 10 or 15 minute break. Let yourself do whatever you want (check facebook, check out that guy sitting nearby, stare off into space, call a friend, etc.) for those 10-15 mins, then start working again. This gives your brain a little rest and will help keep you more focused when you are doing work.

5. Visualize it all going right.
This is actually my favorite tip of all. Imagine yourself taking the test and feeling confident that you know all the information. Picture getting all of the answers right, and focus on how relaxed you feel. Then picture the A on your test paper. When you imagine a happy ending, that’s often what happens, because you make the decisions that lead to it without even realizing. Just give it a try!

6. If you’ve studied all you can, get up your confidence!
When test-time rolls around, it’s time to get yourself into confidence mode. You’ve prepared as much as you could, and now it’s time to ace the test. The tip here is to do whatever works to convince yourself you are going to do really well. I honestly know a guy who listens to “Eye of the Tiger” right before he takes a huge exam to psych himself up. Cheesy, yes. But he has a 3.9 GPA so it must work. Again, this is a tip that you just have to try. I think you’ll like the results.

It is only natural instinct for us to want to be the best of everything and for wanting our children to follow our footsteps. It is a very competitive world out there and it never hurt to have a little ambition. Thus, the extreme level of time spent on preparing for exams and worrying about performance is seemingly justified. However, concerns have been raised about whether we are all taking it a little too seriously. Is it possible that all this attention is actually detrimental to children's performance in exams? The answer is a definite yes. Here we have put together a few tips on how you can minimize exam stress - yours and your children's - and maximize performance at exams

mindfiesta   Get the basics right!
Make sure your child enjoys what she is studying. Understand her capabilities and interests to ensure she is in the right school, in the right environment and doing what she likes. Some children require more guidance and attention from you than others. These children are possibly better off going to a day school than a residential one. Encourage older children to take up subjects that they enjoy studying. An inclination towards a particular subject naturally increases the effort that children will put into preparing for exams in it.

mindfiesta   Start early
While this is a difficult habit for us to nurture, it is something well worth the time that we spend on it. Encourage children to do a little work towards their exams everyday instead of cramming towards the end. This can enormously reduce stress, boost confidence levels and improve examination performance. A word of caution: Different children are differently able and have varying attention spans and absorptive capacity, thus the most suitable study routine depends on the child herself. As it turns out, some people actually can study with the TV/Radio blaring.

mindfiesta   Create a conducive environment
Ensure that they have quiet personal space in which they can study with minimal distraction. Make sure they are eating healthy food giving them all the nutrition they need. Avoid giving them oily/greasy food. Also surveys suggest that children who get plenty of sleep and exercise consistently perform better at exams than their peers. Teach them to be organized.

mindfiesta   Don't create too much hype. Exams aren't the end of the world.
Of course you want your children to do well in their exams. However, you must learn to accept that it is only a small component of their lives. Remind them if exams are nearing, but don't let your lives revolve around the impending exams. This puts undue pressure on your children as they will feel guilty about not doing well after all the effort you have put in. Surely this is unnecessary.



mindfiesta   Use the right motivation mechanisms
Explain to your children why you would like them to do really well in exams. Make sure they understand that they will have a considerable impact on their futures. Don't harp on about past poor performances. Talk about times when they have done really well and boost confidence. Do not scold them excessively if they do poorly in an exam. This will dent morale and self confidence. Also do not compare them to their peers and siblings. Don't make exaggerated promises of rewards for good performance. Let the rewards small but meaningful. For example, promise to watch a movie with them after they have finished studying once a week. Not only will this help them relax but it will also make them feel rewarded.

mindfiesta   Be supportive and encouraging
Exam periods can be extremely stressful for your children. They can get frustrated and de-motivated. This is a time for you as parents to step up and help them. Do not let your own worries show as this will only agitate them further. Be available to give them that pep talk and maintain a relaxed mood around the house so that she will be comfortable. Talk to them regularly about their classes and exams. Don't shrug them away when they ask you for help with something. Set aside sometime so that you can discuss their progress with them. Foster that positive attitude.

These are just a few suggestions that will help you do your part in helping your children deal with exam stress. The truth of the matter is that we all know what the right things to do but can get easily carried away with our ambitions for our children and take the easy way out by harping on and on about impending exams. If you find yourself doing exactly that, stop and take a moment to think. Are you actually damaging the chances of your children performing well?


5 Ways to combat stress

Stress is a disease that can be partially cured. Here are a few thoughts that may help you live more in peace with yourself.

1. They say that 'primordial stress' is related to our unspoken fear of dying, of the and of life. But is it really dying that we are afraid of? No, because we don't know what dying really is. With the end of our existence also comes the end of consciousness and sensation, and so how can we know anything of dying?

2. Stress is generated by a fear of not being perfect. So, you believe you are perfect, do you? Well, you should know that you have never been perfect, because your lack of modesty allowed you to think that you were. And there can be no perfection where there is a lack!

3. Stress comes from being afraid that you can't get everything done on time. Time, like apace, is an extendable dimension. It is one of those rare commodities that can be bestowed almost without limit. Remember that nothing grand or beautiful was ever accomplished in a day.

4. Stress comes from fearing that you do not correspond to the self image you want to project. The eye does not see the object itself, but the image of the object. You too are just a reflection in other people's eyes. They will never see you as you really are, no matter how hard they try. So why worry?

5. Stress arises when you don't know how to say no. You do know how to say no. Do you need proof? Well, the fact that you are alive and reading these lines means that you have succeeded in saying no many times, both with your body and with your mind. That's because living means refusing to die, day after day.

You can start lowering your stress level starting today. All you have to do is choose your priorities!


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