Practical ways to help you take an anxiety-free shot at clearing your finals

Taking the board exams is usually stressful, more so, because of what is at stake. We have all been through it and know how the weight of expectations from our families, teachers, and relatives to crack it, actually affects us before the exams and the anxiety post it, weighs us down. Unnerving questions like, ‘Are my preparations enough for this exam?’ `What if I am unable to attempt all questions in the given time limit?’ and `Will I fulfill my parents’ expectations?’ bother most students. Clinical psychologist and author Seema Hingorrany states, “Stressing before the exams are bound to happen. This is not surprising -in fact, it is quite normal to feel some apprehensions about exams. “Of course, many believe that the pressure to perform might actually end up egging students to do better. However, too much pressure on them could lead to an unhealthy mental state and fill them with doubts, negativity, and lack of confidence and concentration.


Seema elaborates, “The best method of dealing with exam stress is to learn how to manage the stress that comes along with any new challenge. A positive mindset is a cherished asset at any given point of time and acts as a magic wand during exams. If you think positive, you will never fear exams as you will be confident of giving your best.“


Stress seems inevitable and needs to be dealt with effectively.

Educationist Raghav Podar tells us about practical strategies that can help students deal with exam stress.

Parents should stop pressuring the child

Parents, families, society, and peer put pressure on the kid to outdo the next child. Discussing in detail about how much portion the child has revised, what marks he or she is likely to achieve, how the final exam is the only shot to the child’s chance at a successful life will not help him/her succeed.

Instead, it might result in more anxiety, remorse and eventually failure for the child.

Stress leads to excessive cortisol formation.

Unduly stressing out the child’s brain by pressurizing him/her too much, leads the body to release a chemical called cortisol. While small amounts of cortisol are fine, with constant pressure for exams, you are stressing the child’s brain with unhealthy amounts of cortisol. The pre-frontal cortex, or the CEO of the brain, which controls the executive functions of the body, gets flooded with cortisol, thereby reducing its optimal capacity to perform or execute tasks well.

A-DOSE of happiness is the need of the hour

Parents need to give the child’s brain A-DOSE of happiness. We need to get the body to release chemicals like A: Adrenaline, D:Dopamine, O: Oxytocin, S: Serotonin and E: Endorphins (A-DOSE). These happy hormones will make the child feel confident, secure, positive and self-assured of his or her capabilities and skill sets. First of all, parents need to stop finding fault in what the child is not doing, and find things that are praiseworthy; recognize and appreciate these things, in private, and in front of others. Children are far more likely to listen to you through positive reinforcement rather than nagging or complaining.

Allow your child’s brain to recharge.

Even the day before the exam, encourage your child to spend some time doing his favorite activity. Let them play cricket or football or go out for a coffee with friends or even watch their favorite show. Brain mapping done at the University of Illinois by Dr. Chuck Hillman shows that children who had just a 20-minute brisk walk in the garden had brains that were far more active and receptive to learning than children who were quietly sitting and studying for hours. It is important to focus on the quality of learning more than the number of consecutive hours your child is sitting in front of a textbook.

Pay attention to the child’s mood before he enters the exam hall

In a study done in the UK, it was found that only 10 to 20 percent of students are in the right mood before entering the exam. In India, it might be even less. Indian students are typically anxious, nervous, tensed, stressed, going through last-minute notes as they are asked to scurry through to their seat. Parents have made this out to be such a big deal – with mothers fasting, or the pen with which the child will write the exam being blessed by their God. They should stop making such a fuss and questioning the child’s abilities. Neither fasting nor getting the writing instrument blessed by God is going to change the child’s abilities. The mood the child enters the exam it is critical to set the tone for the rest of that paper. The child must enter the exam hall confident, positive and happy that he has done a good job preparing for the exam and knowing he will do his best. The marks will automatically take care of themselves.

Parents should stop making exams such a big deal neither fasting nor getting the writing instrument blessed by God is going to change your child’s abilities. The mood the child enters the exam it is critical to set the tone for the rest of that paper. The child must enter the hall confident, positive, and happy that he has done a good job preparing for the exam and knowing he will do his best.

Though the presence of parents helps, taking an off from work and/or hovering over them all day, could actually be detrimental. Instead, show that you have confidence in his/her abilities. This will help them do better.

Group studies could help some students.

  • Not all students are meant for it, nor are open about group studies. However, if most of the students in the group are really serious about their studies, then they can actually help each other to score higher than they would if they studied solo.
  • Studying together can help students to clear doubts and correct mistakes.
  • It can encourage average students to do better and reach the level of the better students.
  • Group studies are beneficial for the studious and above-average students as well. When they help out their friends and solve their doubts and questions, it acts as a double revision for them too.
  • It combats the boredom and monotony that solo studying is usually associated with.

Group studies for a couple of hours might help.

What students should avoid doing…

  • Watching television while studying does not work. Stop kidding yourself!
  • Avoiding social media and electronic gadgets during the exam month can help your brain to stay more active and receptive.
  • Hiding the mobile among your books is not being clever. You are only just harming yourself.