High test anxiety has come to be associated with falling grades, low self-esteem, and high dropout rates as a result of an intense fear of failure. In a study conducted by Sunita Manchanda, consultant Pediatrician, Max Hospital, Gurgaon, Swati Bhave, Executive Director of Association of Adolescent and Child Care in India (AACCI), Mumbai and Amita Puri, Amity University, Haryana, it was found that twenty per cent of test anxious students drop out before graduating due to the fear of failing an examination.
The consequences of exam stress are manifold. Not only students but parents also fall prey to this. Therefore it becomes extremely important to take care of oneself at such a crucial time. Here are some major causes which lead to exam stress:
“Don’t judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree”, says psychiatrist Dr. Soumiya Mudgal, Max hospital,Gurgaon. According to the doctor, there is a mismatch between what parents expect and the child’s ability to perform well. Parents often set unrealistic benchmarks for their children based on their past academic experience or hold comparison with siblings or kins.
Competition with peer groups
Students often feel stressed when preparing for examinations due to pressure from school and comparison with peer group and good performers. This can lead to unhealthy competition and insecurity. Self-induced pressure comes from the kind of lifestyle that students desire to create for themselves.
Finances can have a bearing on the students as they create insecurity and further pressurize them to produce the desired result.
As a parent, these are the signs you should keep a lookout for in your children this exam season:
-Either loss of appetite or overeating
-Difficulty in sleeping
-Feeling perplexed or irritable
-Feeling of self-doubt: If the child is constantly criticizing his/himself or is always anticipating bad results. Do not overlook if your child’s behavior is unusual.
What can you do?
-Don’t shut them out. Understand their needs and inhibitions and reciprocate accordingly.
-Encourage good habits and minimize expectations
-Talk to your child and build on their interests. Don’t push them into something just because you feel it’s good for them.
-Ensure they’re eating a balanced meal and getting enough sleep.
-Don’t judge them on their failure instead use it to motivate them. Remind them failure is a part of life.
Dr. Mudgal also has some useful hacks that can come in handy this Boards season:
-Don’t prepare until the last minute.
-Start your preparation on time
-Set realistic goals.
-Take short study breaks
-Engage in some physical activity 3-4 times a week.
-Chewing gum before an exam can help you stay distracted if you’re feeling nervous.
-Listen to soft soothing music
-Consult a professional counsellor in case you’re facing any difficulty.
Remember life is more than just scholastic success, so don’t be so hard on yourself, laugh and learn. Balance your drive for performance in exams with doing things that are personally meaningful to you. Think about your progress in life as a whole and not just life, use positive affirmations to stay motivated come what may and embrace the upcoming exam season with utmost calm.
-By Sanya Arora