How to Beat Stress, Fear and Lack of Concentration? 7 Tips For Students Appearing For Board Exams
Without being in the classrooms for the last two years students are suddenly appearing for their 10th and 12th standard exams. (Representative image)
Many students are anxious about the future and lack concentration. Without being in classrooms for the last two years, students are appearing for their 10th and 12th board exams.
Updated: February 21, 2022, 20:22 IST
Exams are around the corner. The challenges today are different. Many students are anxious about the future, lack concentration and also appear exhausted. Without being in classrooms for the last two years, students are appearing for their 10th and 12th board exams. To assist them in these testing times, the following are seven tips for all students as the examination season approaches.
Online to Offline
The transition from Online Multiple-Choice tests in the last two years to Offline exams may appear daunting. The fears melt when students are able to understand that many multiple-choice answers constitute a long answer. Practising answer-writing from test papers can boost confidence and kill panic. Answering small mock tests at home/school instills courage and rewires the body. The brain is malleable and adapts easily.
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‘Studies are like water, it evaporates when boiled!’ The emotional climate at home needs to be optimum. Excessively anxious, angry, scared or sad parents destroy the child’s memory. It’s important for parents to manage stress by sharing their fears with their loved ones and sleeping enough. Parent-Teacher Associations can help here. Brief bouts of exercise will help dissolve the tears, fears and anger of moms and dads. When kids are between 15-18 years of age, parents may be in menopause or andropause. If there are bad mood swings, parents must seek professional help. Sharing feelings with their wards, work much better than showering humiliating adjectives or sarcastic taunts at children.
Marks and Milestones
10th/12th exams are not a milestone but a stone with many miles to go. If you score 90% or more, you may not be a hero and if you score 50%, you are not a zero. The Indian boards do not track all your abilities and cannot test all your talents. Working hard for your exams enhances self-esteem, self-worth and makes one very disciplined. Displaying a target to score may inspire a few whereas many can simply panic. Most do well when marks are not discussed. Remember your performances are not to make your parents happy. Parents will stand by you throughout life. Do not discuss admissions into colleges now. Studying for entrance tests can continue after the 12th board exams.
Breaks and Breakthroughs
Study for 30 to 40 minutes at a stretch with breaks of 10 minutes each. Focusing on the page helps finish the majority of the syllabus. Some of us are like owls and can read well late at night and others are like larks who do well in the morning. Do not stay awake all night. Ignition issues can be resolved by reading stuff you already know as a starter or just reading without learning. Learning begins as your mind gets easy and relaxed. At this point in time study as much as you can without bothering about the total content. Words that rhyme are remembered better. So you may convert matter into rhyming songs. Remember examinations now are the test of your memory and not critical thinking.
Stress and Solutions
Share your fears with your favorite teacher, parent or friends. Sleep enough for seven hours at least and remember Sleep is also about architecture and not just arithmetic. Rhythmic doses of dream and deep sleep are essential. Long naps in the afternoon are not advisable. Sleep deprivation is worse than an inability to sleep and will destroy your memory. Being on gadgets for long and at night is a sure recipe for diminished performance. Play with your arms and legs and not your fingers for 30 minutes daily. This improves the brain’s ability to read, retain and recall during exams. Drink enough water and have a healthy diet. Simple brief breathing exercises, yoga, meditation helps calm the senses.
Disturbing Thoughts & Destructive Emotions
I may not remember what I studied in the exams. I may not score well. I may not get admission to a good college. I feel blank. I have had a break-up. These are some of the thoughts that can disturb you. They can come and go and may not trouble much in most cases. If it lasts longer, distract yourself with a quick short walk, a brief shower, some music, a quick jig or micro pranayama. You can also comfort yourself by hugging your mom or sharing it with peers.
Analysing your past performances will make you understand that these thoughts are irrational. When these troubles occupy your mind for too long and do not diminish then seek help from teachers or counselors. If you are in love, keep in touch and help each other in your studies. If you have had a break-up, share your feelings with family, friends, teachers or a counselor. Remember, class 10th boards are easier than your 9th standard exams and your 10th pre-boards. As far as future admissions are concerned every student will get one. There are no branded colleges, the student is the mighty brand.
Distress and Disabilities
Students who are undergoing counseling or medications for emotional distress or mental disorders need special attention. Teachers need to be allotted as mentors for close monitoring across exams and later. Those families affected by job losses, inability to pay fees, deaths due to COVID should be under the radar of the school. Hand-holding them and providing emotional and learning support is a must. Those having disabilities need to be personally met and counseled across the exams and even afterwards. Teachers should be just a phone call away during the exam season.
When students go for the exams, parents should wish them abundantly without fear. Wishing each other too profusely relaxes children. After exams parents should refrain from doing any post mortem of the performances. Leave them alone.
There are many exams worth living for and no exams worth crying for or dying for!
Dr Harish Shetty is a Psychiatrist at Dr L.H. Hiranandani Hospital and has extensive experience in Community Mental Health. has been having conversations with students throughout his career. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the stand of t
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