I am sure this is something every student would wish for during the exams. Exam time and stress go hand in hand for children as well as parents. Tremendous competition, peer pressure and parents’ expectations make it even more stressful for the children. This often makes exams only an avenue for competition and not learning and evaluating ourselves.
While having help from the internet is just wishful thinking, here are some effective tips followed by good learners to reduce stress during the exams and help them fare better.
1. Meditate to ace your exam
This is one of the most important technique that one should practice without fail – at the start of studying, after a break and even before the exam. This need not be an elaborate activity always, since time is of utmost importance especially in the last few days. Just sit, preferably crossed leg on the ground but a chair or bench will work equally well. Close your eyes. Do not think about anything but just imagine a place you like the most – a forest, sea, mountains, birds – whatever works for you. Try not to have any thoughts during this time. Ideal time to meditate would be around 8-10 minutes before you start studying and 2-5 minutes after a break or before the exam starts. This helps to reduce stress, reduce cortisol i.e. the stress hormone as well as improved breathing and oxygen supply.
2. Create flash cards to remember concepts
This is one of the most tried and tested technique to help understand and remember concepts. When you look at the front side of a flash card and think of the answer, you are attempting to remember the concept from scratch, and not simply staring at the passage in your textbook. This thus helps in remembering with an understanding and not mugging up. Also, flashcards are very useful for last day revision where you do not have to go through a big bunch of pages but just bullet points which help in faster revision. Flash cards need not be elaborate and fancy but simple bullet points on stick-on notes or a sheet of paper work equally well.
3. Eat healthy to avoid exam stress
There are 2 kinds of people – those that need to eat continuously during exams and those that totally forget to eat when stressed. You need to figure out which group you fall in. If you need to eat continuously, then make sure it is not just chips or junk food all the time because that can overload the digestive system. Try to have dry fruits like almonds and walnuts which are good for the brain and raisins when you have a sweet craving. Having fruits like banana or grapes also help in times of a sweet craving as well as offer energy. Students who can’t eat during stress, should consciously make time to grab a few bites during breaks. Bananas, dry fruits, juices or smoothies will give the required nourishment at the same time keep you light.
4. Water your worries away
This is another important thing to remember. Often students consume too much tea or coffee during the last few days to stay awake longer. Please try to avoid this, but if you must, then consume more water than normal to flush the system. Make sure you have the required amount of water and stay hydrated and include fresh fruit juices and coconut water which will make you feel fresh with increased energy.
5. Well rested body, alert mind
Another common mistake that students make just before the exam is cutting up on sleep so that they can study/ revise more. This practice, instead of being a helpful has a harmful effect. If the mind and body are tired it becomes more difficult to be fully attentive and recall all you have studied. So, sleep enough on the night before the exam. If stress prevents sound sleep, use lavender oil in a diffuser in the room or just a few drops on the pillow for better sleep.
6. Plan your way to good grades
Planning is often considered a mundane or wasteful activity. Something that which we should not spend too much time on. But in fact, it is the backbone of effective time management and should be the starting point of your studies. Once you know your dates and schedule, plan your days and time spent on each subject based on your current level of preparation. Also, make sure you follow the plan. Having an adult monitor your status or a group of friends assessing your progress as per the plan is very motivating and helps you be on track.
7. Positive thinking during exams
Lastly, have a positive outlook towards the exams. Parents should not over pressurize their children to get good grades, but they should treat the exams as an avenue to learn. Keep in mind, performance in exams is not going to mould the child into a better human being but the pressure put on him can surely leave a scar on his self-confidence. The students too should go to an exam with the attitude of performing to the best of their ability and learn from their mistakes.
Remember – “Exams and grades are temporary but education is permanent”.
There are several examples of successful people who have not done well in exams as well and those who have done well in exams but still struggling, and vice-versa. It is what he learns and how he learns that will mould his future.
This article was first published on UC News on 17th Feb 2017 here
Here are some other stress relieving techniques that would help in day to day life