Mano Charchae: Develop a Healthy and Practical Lifestyle to Beat Exam Stress

In this episode of Mano Charchae, Dr. Archana, Psychiatrist Victoria Hospital speaks about examination fear and examination stress. “How does one identify exam fear in children? Through mental and physical changes. You will notice frequent nail-biting, unexplained sweating, stomach troubles, giddiness, an increase in heartbeat, and other such symptoms. Mentally, these stressed children will not have any clarity as to what to do and how to do it. They will always seem sad, with little to no interest in studying. They will even forget what they have read as they are always tense and fearful that something wrong is about to happen to them. They will also have problems sleeping and may end up sleeping very little or not at all. When you notice such symptoms in children, talk to them in a nice, non-judgmental way and try to understand their problems.”

The reasons for this fear include the fear of failure. Nowadays, the standards for pass marks are inordinately high – scoring above 90%, and standing first in the school or the whole state are common expectations. “In such situations, even when the children score 89%, they feel dejected and even suicidal. A few students always want a high percentage of marks and they find it incapable of accepting even slightly low marks. A few students study well but are sometimes unable to remember everything. They see competition everywhere. If a student has pre-existing health problems, then the examination stress will add to the trouble and worsen it.”

So, how do we prevent this type of stress? “Children should choose a silent place to study at so that they can concentrate better. One must sit and study and put up a schedule on how much time to dedicate to studying, playing, sleeping and other things. Even while studying, a time table of subjects must be adopted. Breaks must be taken while studying. Sleep is also very important while studying and suitable times must be picked to get an overall healthy dose of sleep. The students must not drink tea or coffee while reading because it inhibits sleep. Long-term sleep deprivation can lead to a loss of interest in studying and the chances of memory lapses will be high. Revising what has already been studied is also very important.”

Students usually indulge in many hobbies but during examinations, they tend to stop everything. It is, in fact, good to not to stop these extra-curricular activities. “Instead, practice them as breaks from studies. While heading out to write examinations, it’s good to have a light breakfast as the bodily sugar level then will be maintained at an optimum level. Many students tend to head for exams without eating breakfast, which is not good at all. During exams, it is important to not panic when you first see the question paper. Instead, relax and see which questions you can answer first. Write suitable and appropriate points for suitable marks. Once the exam results are out, do not decide your life based only on these marks. Exams and marks are just a few small parts of your life and these alone cant decide your path.”

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