“The Board Exam – Challenge vs. Threat”
As soon as a student steps into the final years of schooling, the thought of the approaching board exams seems to be one of the most consuming entities in their lives. From their parents worrying about the results, the teachers grinding them to complete the study matter, and the students themselves finding themselves in a time crunch with their tuitions or coaching, and self-studying. To add to all of this is the student, who might often wonder what is actually going to hit them with this so dreaded ‘board exam’! They are often unable to fathom how to manage their time, their studies, and the combination of the parental, peer, school, societal pressures. Due to this, various students sometimes go through Mental Health problems in India.
While examinations are an inevitable part of every student’s life, and as much as they might wish to escape it, they are an unavoidable challenge. It can be said that the board exams do tend to be hyped and dreaded more than is necessary, in spite of the recent modifications being sought for in the education system to make such an exam optional. However, how the students perceive and deal with these exams would dictate, to a large extent, their experience and their approach towards such challenges as a part of their lives.
Board Exams – Not Necessarily Synonymous with Stress
At the end of the day, the board exam is also just another exam. Merely a greater value being attached to the consequence does not necessarily need to affect the preparation required to complete the task at hand. Exam stress is actually a manifestation of the result of an interaction between various factors, which are more likely to be the outcome of our own perceptions and attitudes towards the exams and the significance we attach to the consequences associated with these exams. These factors severely impact the mental health of students in India.
Efforts to reduce the extra build-up mostly associated with board exams should be two-fold, aimed at improving studying skills, as well as learning to cope with external factors associated with the board exams times. In fact, this combination is inevitable for not just the board exams but can also be affecting school or college examinations, various competitive and entrance examinations, etc.
Tips to Handle Exam Stress
Is it possible? Yes, even the board exams do not necessarily need to be stressful for the students or the parents. And while most often students tend to be advised to ensure greater hours being dedicated to their studying, this can often become counter-productive as well. 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, especially for the stressors associated with the prospect of board exams. The following are some of the points which could be kept in mind by students during the boards:
1. Sleep well. Contrary to the popular saying, you need not burn the midnight lamp to study before an exam. Instead, plan your studies, and ensure that you get an adequate sleep, especially before the boards. In fact, you are likely to have prepared the material previously for the pre-board exams, and therefore there is nothing extra that can be achieved one night before the exam.
2. Stay healthy. With the prospect of board exams approaching, the last thing you want during an examination is to fall ill. Therefore, it is important for you to avoid junk food, eat a healthy diet, and have plenty of physical activity instead of cooping yourself up inside your study room.
3. Avoid stimulants. It is a myth that caffeine, nicotine, or any other substance, can help improve your concentration during exams. On the contrary, they are likely to increase your anxiety levels, thereby making you feel more stressed!
4. Remember, the board exam is not the end of your life. Exams are just a small part of your entire lifespan, be it the boards or any other exam. They are not the only deciding factors of your life ahead. They are simply a stepping stone for you, and the success of your life does not depend on your performance in an exam, but on how you cope with the various challenges of life.
5. Don’t forget other parts of your routine. It is commonly seen that as soon as the boards are approaching, the TV subscriptions are stopped, the internet services are disconnected, (often for the entire family!), and the students’ hobbies and outdoor activities often come to a standstill! But, physical activity is actually beneficial, especially for the youth, as a physical or outdoor activity not only fosters adequate physical growth and development but also ensures that the child gets a break from the studying within the four walls of the room. Being out in the open is the most refreshing change, and stimulates the child’s attention and concentration as well.
6. Talk. Remember, it is normal to feel anxious during the boards, but you must talk about the way you feel. You could share your feelings with your friends, your parents, teachers or a professional. If you find it difficult to cope, remember there are always people around who can help you. And therefore, be open to seeking help if you are experiencing difficulties during the board exams.