Help your child overcome examination stress
The examination season is inevitably associated with words such as stress, tension, worries and pressures in our minds. Be it when the examinations are approaching, on-going or when awaiting the results. Moreover, the stress levels increase not only for the students, but also for their parents, teachers, tutors and family members. However, the onus eventually falls back on the student, who is responsible for not only working towards performing successfully in the examinations, but also to be able to manage the accompanying stressors effectively.
HANDLING EXAM STRESS FOR STUDENTS
Although, every student may wish to escape examination, they are an unavoidable challenge. While it is essential for students to be empowered with the skills and strategies to inculcate effective studying practices, it is also necessary for them to be able to cope with not just the academic demands, but also with the social, institutional as well as personal demands related to their studies.
Adopt healthy lifestyle choices: It is a myth that caffeine, nicotine or any other substance can help improve your concentration during examinations. On the contrary, they are likely to increase your anxiety levels, thereby making you feel more stressed. Therefore, pay attention to your health and focus on maintaining a regular and healthy lifestyle. Plan your studies and ensure that you get an adequate sleep.
Peer pressure: Competing with your peers might help motivate you at times. However, it is important to avoid making comparisons between your work and the others’. Instead, you should work towards fulfilling expectations from yourself.
Before and after an exam: During the morning of an exam, one should not have frantic last minute revisions, which would only lead to confusion and stress. Even after the exam, avoid discussing the question paper. Worrying about the previous subject paper will not help you prepare for the next one. Instead, give yourself a break before you start focusing on the next exam.
Talk: Remember, it is normal to feel anxious during examinations. But you must talk about the way you feel. You could share your feelings with your friends, parents, teachers or a counsellor. If you find it difficult to cope, remember there are always people around who can help you.
DEALING WITH PARENTAL STRESS
Despite of their own anxieties and worries regarding their child’s performance in their exams, it is important for the parents to be able to serve as an encouraging support system for the children during these times.
Realistic expectations: Every student must be allowed to work towards attaining his/her dream. This will not only ensure their happiness but will also help in keeping them motivated to achieve their own goals and aspirations. Carrying the burden of their parents’ dreams can be stressful for the children.
Focus on efforts instead of results: Performance in the examination could be dependent on multiple factors which may not be in your or your child’s control. However, it is important for you as a parent to direct your attention to your child’s efforts.
Don’t let your motivation add to their pressure: As parents, it is your role to help the child assume responsibility for his/her performance and they should recognise you as a support system. It is, however, important to differentiate between motivating and pressurising your child. So, remember to maintain a balance.
Be a support system: As parents, help your child by providing a positive environment. Guide the child in maintaining a regular routine and healthy lifestyle. Be there for your children to hear them out and provide a listening ear. Do not discourage extra-curricular activities during examinations, as every child needs to take regular breaks from studies. Moreover, indulging in hobbies and other physical activities has been found to be beneficial in rejuvenating the child’s energy levels and it ensures attention and concentration.
Exams are not the end of life: As a parent, it is important for you to help your child understand that examinations are just part of a lifetime. This is not the only deciding factor of the child’s future, but are simply stepping stones. So, do not make examinations sound like a big deal than they actually are. Don’t forget to convey this to your child as well.
Be calm: Although worrying about your child’s future is normal, it is important for you to be able to handle your stress effectively, in order to prevent any adverse impact on your child’s preparation and performance.