BY DR SANJANA SETH
Board exams are an annual ordeal that every Indian family goes through. While many parents have unrealistic expectations of their child, others take things lightly with statements like “You can do it”, “Don’t stress”, or ignore the child’s distress altogether. Therefore, let’s highlight a few points to keep exam stress at bay.
The key to acing exams and being prepared well is time management. Last minute studying or haphazard revision a day or two before the paper is a great cause of stress.
Time management is the magic key to success as it aids in the scheduling of your study plan for the day and the week. It helps you allocate each day or hours of the day to a particular subject, based on the difficulty level or how prepared you are.
Students usually believe that once a subject has been learnt, then revising once is enough. But that's not always the case. There may be sub-topics which have not been learnt thoroughly and with the passage of time, that learning weakens.
A revision is a repetition of learning and recall which helps in transferring the learning from your short-term memory (STM) to the long-term memory (LTM). It aids in easy recall at the time of answering your paper, thus reducing stress.
Make an effort to go through a couple of sample papers from previous years as this will help boost your confidence and prevent any last-minute panic.
Sample papers work as a guide to check your level of preparedness for the exam and give you enough time to sort out the difficulties noticed. Sample papers are also a great way to understand the pattern of upcoming exams.
Board exam stress can make some parents go into overdrive to feed their child certain foods considered to sharpen their memory. The child too may start skipping meals or binge eating while studying for the upcoming exams.
Both these actions need correction, and the best way out is to have a balanced diet.
Additionally, the meals need to be on time every day. Healthy meals keep the balance of nourishment in the body, yielding alertness, concentration and sustained energy levels in the child.
The gut is the “new brain” as per the latest research, and hence the importance of a healthy meal can never be underestimated.
As much as studying regularly is a great way to ace the exam, it is also one of the reasons why stress and anxiety levels increase.
Studying without any breaks can cause cognitive fatigue and saturation in the child, hence taking “me time” to relax, spending time with family and friends or doing anything that refreshes your mind must take place concurrently.
Remember that the board exams are just one part of your schooling and totally manageable with a positive and productive outlook.
The pointers given above are important in reducing your stress levels during board exams, as once incorporated as a habit, exams will become smooth sailing. So, go ahead and ace your boards with confidence.
(Dr Sanjana Seth is a consultant psychologist at SMRC’s VM Salgaocar Hospital, Goa.)