Submitted by alvin on Tue, 2017-03-07 18:24 Starting from March, it is common to see students getting stressed as they need to write one exam after another. Currently, school exams are being conducted and the season of big exams will begin from the II PU exams slated to be held from March 9, 2017, followed by SSLC from March 30, 2017, CET, NEET and other entrance tests. It has been found that it is not just but even parents and teachers too undergo a lot of stress during the exam season. However, experts say that there is no need to stress oneself and instead one can score good marks only if they are calm and composed while writing exams. So, we present you tips and suggestions from various stake holders; doctors to psychiatrists to student counsellors on how to face the exams. pollaroid-108 Coping with exam stress - a paediatrician's perspective By Dr Prathap Chandra Exams can be a challenging for both children and parents. Unfortunately, 10th, 12th and the entrance exams are game-changers and decide the career path in the lives of many students. Whilst we applaud the success stories of high achievers which grab the headlines, we fail to realize that every year the suicide rates are going up amongst students due to academic pressures or so called ‘failure in exam’. According to the data provided by the Union government, suicides are the second biggest cause of death in the 17-29 age group. Stress is a very important mechanism in providing adequate energy and getting the body and mind ready to handle tough situations. This is termed as good stress but excess stress is harmful and it can lead to following problems; Dry mouth Palpitations Headaches Stomach pains Back ache Generalised body pains and stiffness Lack of sleep Loss of interest in food Appearing depressed or negative Anxiety Irritability Nervous breakdown Inability to concentrate or complete the task These have a major impact on the performance and directly affect the end result. It is very important to approach the stress with a clear mind and an understanding of how to deal with stress. Parents and teachers go a long way in alleviating the stress in these children. Sometimes the pressure becomes immense and if your child is unable to handle it or if your child’s self-esteem is coming down and they are unable to cope, then you must consult a psychiatrist to help you tide over this phase. Eating Healthy It is very important to eat healthy if you want to do well in the exams. • Try to have a balanced diet • Breakfast is a must. Children who skip breakfast may have trouble concentrating • Try eating lean meat, nuts, fruits and vegetables • Avoid sugary drinks and processed food Good sleep Lack of good sleep can result in fatigue, anxiety; stress and can cause headache and gastritis. • A good 7-8 hours of sleep is necessary for brain to process the information that you have acquired and to de-stress • It is always better to organize your studies so that you don't have to cram the night before and lose the precious sleep • Try to get in to a routine and some find it easier to have fixed times to get to sleep • Make your room pitch dark and block our the sound for example by wearing ear plugs Exercise Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve anxiety and stress. • If you think you are a nervous wreck before the exams, then go for a run or hit the gym. • Even 10 minutes of walking is helpful. • Listening to upbeat music will keep you motivated and helps in rejuvenating. • You keep moving your arms, neck legs and feet every 10-15 mins to avoid muscle aches and spasms Stay hydrated Make sure you drink plenty of water. Aim for 6-8 eight ounces bottle per day. • Dehydration can make you sluggish and can also cause headaches. • Avoid too much caffeine intake as it can worsen gastritis and increases anxiety levels • A cup of herbal or lemon tea can help you feel more relaxed and hydrated. Manage your time Managing time will go a long way in reducing the stress and helps you be better prepared. Most people to struggle to manage their time well. • This is usually due to lack of planning • Don’t put off studying until the exams are nearing, regular revisions will help you achieve better performance • Have a time table and stick to it. Give yourself adequate time for exercise, eating and sleep. • Cramming all night before an exam is usually a bad idea and this may reduce your performance and causes more anxiety • Plan your time on the exam day and have a pattern of answering the questions that is comfortable for you and well rehearsed • Give yourself enough time to reach the exam place and try to arrive before exam commences. The last thing you want to do is be late to exams and this would put your anxiety levels up. Tips for parents • Parents should guide their children in planning, organizing and setting a time-table. • Motivate your child and provide a conducive environment. • Teach your child to approach stress with a positive attitude • Give a lot of emotional cushioning to your child • Set up realistic goals to your child according to your child’s capability • It is very important to compliment your child when he/she has done well. Phrases like ‘you can do better’ may be used instead of ‘you didn’t do well’ etc • Talking to your child regularly and giving a closure to one subject after the exams helps them to concentrate on the future papers. • Don’t add to the already existing pressure. Studies have indicated that students feel more stressed from family pressures and expectations (Dr. Prathap Chandra has undergone all his neonatal and paediatric training in the UK. He obtained his MRCPCH in 2004. He has undergone national neonatal grid training in the UK including 2 years of clinical research at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, where he studied the ‘outcomes of congenital malformations, foetal and neonatal therapies’. He worked as a neonatal consultant at the University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire and as a Neonatal Transport Lead for Central newborn network, since 2010. He is currently a consultant-neonatologist and pediatrician at Rainbow Children's Hospital) New paradigm of managing exam stress By Dr Satish Ramaiah • Some level of stress is actually normal and can keep you going. So it is okay to feel a bit of it! • Know your strengths and limitations. Start utilizing your strengths to the fullest and smartly manage your limitations • Know what works and what doesn’t work for you in terms of method of study, time of day, place of study etc • Practice mindfulness. Be aware of your anxieties or fears. Don’t fight with them. Take an objective look at them and let them be • Know what motivates you. Repeat the mental imagery of your motivators often • Remember, your abilities or fears of exam are all just perceptions and are not necessarily real • Attribute your past failures to lack of efforts and luck, rather than your abilities • If you are someone who is laid-back, start ‘psyching up’ or if you are someone who is on the edge, ‘relax and calm down now’ • It is not time to compare yourself with anyone else. All you are trying to do is the get the best out of yourself within whatever limitations you may have • Break tasks into small chunks • Set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely) goals, given such a short time to exam • Focus on being in action all the time, irrespective of how you feel • Have some quiet time in between to get stock of the situation and re-strategise • Relax your standards. Let go of perfectionism • Stay away from negative people or people who may induce fear • It’s a game. Take it on. Have fun ! (Dr Satish Ramaiah is a consultant neuropsychiatrist and sleep disorder specialist, People Tree Maarga). Tips to ace exams By Dr. Chaitra Bocheer KS Exams do really transform your abilities into achievements. # The purpose of your exams should not be to test your grades but it should test your perseverance and passion for strengthening the capacity of your mind. # Let your exams not test your memory, let it test your learning spirit and enthusiasm. # Face your exams with confidence because confidence always imparts a wonderful inspiration; the more confident you are the more pleasant your exams will be. # Don't stress. Stress doesn't ease your exams, it will only double your trouble. So be fearless. A fearless minds executes the best results. # Believe in yourself. Don't lose hope. Lack of belief blocks your growth. Believe you can and your halfway there. Your belief in your strength takes you to great heights. # Be disciplined. Plan your timetable and work as per your plans. # Manage your time. The best you manage your time, the more calm your mind will be. Don't procrastinate. # Read your question paper thoroughly first and then frame a blueprint of points in your mind and only then proceed with writing the answers. # Be courageous of exams because the success of your exams shrinks or expands with your courage. # Never weaken your willpower. Your indomitable willpower will truly make wonders. # Be cool and charming. Treat your exams as platform to present the beauty of your knowledge. # Be patient and joyful. Your sweat, your time and your dedication will truly pay off. # Let your exams build you and let it not break you. # Lastly welcome your exams with a smile. (Dr. Chaitra Bocheer KS. is Associate Professor, MBA Department, Bangalore Institute of Technology).