26 | July | 2023
Tips & Steps to Reduce Stress During Exams
Examinations are a stressful time for anyone. In numerous countries, where a child's entire career and future hinge on their performance in school and competitive exams, there exists a significant burden on them to excel.
This pressure often leads to anxiety, stress, panic attacks, and in some cases bouts of depression too. The exaggerated and unnecessary importance given to examinations and the pressure along with it can cause many children to lose track of their careers as well as life itself.
The fear of failure is one of the main reasons for the stress and the resultant negative impacts. The challenges of dealing with exam stress in India is no different and it is crucial to manage stress effectively to ensure optimal performance during exams.
It is estimated that almost 2500 people commit suicide every year due to failure in exams. In the last 7 years between 2014 to 2020, the country has lost 12,582 lives due to stress caused by exams (As per NCRB data, source- DNA, 2022). According to this report both rural and urban cities contribute heavily to this figure indicating that exam related stress is not an urban issue alone. Stress pertaining to studies and examination related anxiety is a case of genuine concern all across India.
However, there are proven strategies that can help manage and reduce this stress. In this article, we will look at stress-reducing methods that can help students look at examinations with a calmer and more positive frame of mind.
We look at exam stress management for students in India and how some proactive strategies can help them relax and be more confident in facing exams. Some specialized activities and programs help in reducing anxiety and help face challenges with optimism. Here are some strategies for handling academic stress.
Planning for an examination begins in the mind. You must visualize the goal that you wish to achieve. Then measure the time in your hands. Planning must begin early, and time must be managed efficiently for this. When you start dividing the time and effort required for this, it becomes achievable and easy. Break down your syllabus into manageable portions and assign specific time slots for each topic. This way you will have enough time to revise and practice too. By having a clear plan and prioritizing your tasks, you will feel more organized and in control, reducing stress levels significantly.
Taking care of body and mind
Studies and examinations are not just activities of the brain. A brain functions effectively when the body is fit and healthy and the mind is at peace. If not, even a small level of stress can snowball into big problems leading to anxiety and depression. Keep the body well-rested. Get ample sleep at night and avoid long nights of studies. Do regular physical activity, exercise, yoga or meditation. Take small breaks in between studies. Nowadays there are many development courses and meditation sessions available in the country. There are unique courses like Mindfulness for students in India that aim to strengthen the mind helping in better concentration too.
Preparation for examinations is not all about studying and immersing oneself in books all the time. Regular study breaks, relaxation, and exercise can significantly alleviate stress. Connecting to friends and family, and spending time with people who can support you with good thoughts and friendly talks can be of help. This also helps in improving our personality and self-confidence. Personality Development for students in India targets building the social confidence that helps in keeping a positive mindset. Socializing does not mean spending time on social media and mobile phones. Having a meal or break time tea/coffee with friends and family, having a laugh and even talking about your preparations can have a positive outcome.
Importance of Diet
For better mental and physical health during this stressful time and to reduce the anxiety related to examinations, having a balanced diet, rich in proteins and vitamins is important. Nutrition from fruits and vegetables and lean proteins can help you gain the strength to prepare well. This is also the time to avoid excessive caffeine, sugary snacks, and junk food. Such foods can affect one's mood and push more towards anxiety and stress. Nutrient-rich foods provide the necessary fuel for your brain, helping you stay focused and reducing stress levels. Stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water. Some sips of plain water when feeling stressed can also uplift your mood.
Getting help and support
No matter how much you are prepared for the examination, there may be times when you may feel anxiety and are worried about what is to come. You must have someone to talk to and seek support and advice. It can be a friend or any elder in the family. You can also ask for support and guidance from your teacher or school counselors. Seeking support will help you stay balanced and sometimes you may get some tips in your course of preparation. It can also help in having a pillar of support when needed and not getting embroiled in the challenges of study.
If you think good, good things will come to you. Positive visualization can always help you in this difficult time. Often when things are difficult, we tend to focus on the negative outcomes in the future. But thinking and visualizing the positive outcomes and happy results can provide you with the much-needed focus and energy to prepare better. Looking at long-term positive results can fill you with the will to succeed and prepare for the exams in a better way.
Here are some other simple tips to reduce stress during exams in India-
- Making small flashcards, diagram-aided notes, simplified codes etc can help you remember better
- When things seem hard, do a quick physical workout or meditation, which can reduce the stress hormone levels.
- Clean your study area, and have proper ventilation in the study room.
- Have a small side hobby or interest that you can turn to when feeling overwhelmed with studies. Indulge in the hobby for a short break.
- Set small realistic day-to-day or weekly goals when preparing for the exams.
Managing examination-related stress is not just about planning and then stressing oneself to meet the targets. It is also about physically and mentally preparing early so that anxiety and stress do not force into depression or even any extreme measures. Stress management program for students in India aims to guide the student in the right direction and provide support during stressful times. The WAYNE MACDONALD’S CHILDREN SAFETY AND SURVIVAL PROGRAM (CSS PROGRAM) is such an initiative that provides the right skill sets to the students in managing stress and being more confident and strong. This school program is aimed at all round development of the child in staying on course even during challenging times. Managing stress involves making a study-conducive environment and feeling relaxed in mind and body. Planning and prioritizing, establishing a healthy routine, taking help and support as well as approaching the test with a positive mindset help a long way.
- Why do students experience stress during exams?
Examinations bring significant pressure as a child's career and future depend on their performance. The fear of failure and the exaggerated importance of exams lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression.
- How can I effectively plan for exams to reduce stress?
Visualize your goals, break down the syllabus into manageable portions, and allocate specific time slots for each topic. Prioritize your tasks to feel more organized and in control, which will reduce stress levels.
- Can physical activities help reduce exam stress?
Yes, regular physical activity, exercise, yoga, or meditation can significantly alleviate stress. Mindfulness courses and meditation sessions can also help strengthen the mind and improve concentration.
- How does socializing play a role in reducing exam-related stress?
Socializing with friends and family can provide emotional support and friendly talks, leading to a positive mindset. It can also improve personality and self-confidence, contributing to stress reduction.
- What role does a balanced diet play in managing exam stress?
Having a balanced diet, rich in proteins and vitamins, is essential for mental and physical health during exams. Avoid excessive caffeine, sugary snacks, and junk food, as they can increase anxiety and stress levels.
- Should I seek help and support during exam preparation?
Yes, it's crucial to have someone to talk to and seek support and advice when feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Friends, family, teachers, or school counselors can provide valuable support.
- How can positive visualization help in reducing stress?
Positive visualization focuses on imagining positive outcomes and happy results. This can provide you with the motivation and energy to prepare better, reducing stress levels.
- What are some practical tips to reduce stress during exams?
Some practical tips include creating flashcards and simplified notes, doing physical workouts or meditation to reduce stress hormones, maintaining a clean study area with proper ventilation, and having a side hobby for short breaks.
- How can stress management programs help students during exams?
Stress management programs provide guidance and support to students during stressful times. They help in building coping skills and confidence, making it easier to manage stress effectively.
- How can the Wayne MacDonald's CSS Program help students during exams?
The Wayne MacDonald's Children Safety and Survival Program (CSS Program) aims to provide students with the right skill sets to manage stress and stay confident during challenging times. It focuses on all-round development and helps students stay on track during exams.