4 incredibly practical and simple ways for your kids to beat exam stress!

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Expert Dr Era Dutta explains why it's important for kids to set a 'before exam' and 'after exam' routine. Read on to know how to help your kid develop this technique

EXAMINATION! A word that makes every student cringe, as if it were the worst thing to happen to humanity.

But let's be honest, if one wants to succeed in life, they have to test themselves and school examinations are the first step towards that. But as easy as this sounds, it's quite the opposite for students. Examinations for them mean sleepless nights and stress.

But there are simple and easy ways to relieve oneself of all this exam stress, only if you prepare a step-by-step work chart. Yes, that's correct.

We spoke to Dr Era Dutta, consultant psychiatrist, Mind Wellness and Fortis Healthcare, Kolkata, to understand how to prepare for examinations at every step.

At the start of the year

Dr Dutta explains, "Each year we pledge to study well, and then something goes amiss. There is no substitute for hard work of course. From the beginning of the year, if you set some priorities straight, the benefits will be wonderful."

She lists out practical and simple ways for this fast 'trending' generation to not only relax before and after the examinations, but also how to prepare during their D-Day.

  • Schedule: Daily schedule of school, coaching classes, leisure timings and designated study timings is a must. Stick to it.
  • Identify your weaknesses: We all have that one subject that we hate. Rather than not confronting it and shying away from it, dedicate extra time to it.
  • Prioritise: A simple thing to ask yourself before any task is – Is it important? And is it urgent? If you get two yes – Do it immediately. If neither – for instance, being on Facebook – postpone. If one yes and one no –for instance, homework due next day – do it after the first task at hand.
  • RE-vision: The best and ideal time to revise the same information are days 1,3,5,7,14 and 21. So if you learn something today, re-read it once again on the days mentioned and you won’t need any last minute cramming.
  • Mnemonics: This is the development of systems for improving and assisting the memory. It's an excellent way to remember dull and boring information.
  • Stay healthy and exercise: Eating balanced meals and get adequate rest to rejuvenate those gray cells. Plus, physical exercise helps boost mood, concentration and overall well-being.
  • Extra-curricular: Life is not only about books. Join a few clubs. Who knows your passion and true calling in life may be debating, drama or dance!
  • Posture: This is imperative for all ages. Use a table and chair to study. If the bed were the right place to study, wouldn’t the schools have beds instead of chairs and tables?

Right before the exam

  • Self-tests: Making mock question papers out of old ones yourself, and timing yourself works wonders. This real-life stimulation should be done with all gadgets (mobiles, tablets) switched off.
  • Revision: Do the drill again
  • Sleep: Sleeping well is important before the exam. Rest helps you remember remote information too
  • Self-talk: Positive self-talk like “I CAN DO THIS” goes a long way
  • Take a break: After 45-60 minutes of studying, walk around, stretch, drink water, freshen up and relax
  • Whatsapp status – BUSY!: Social media has become a necessary evil. Avoid keeping your cell phone at arm’s length while studying. This can be distracting. Rather set small alarms when you can allow yourself to use the mobile phone.

exam stress

During the exam

  • Eat breakfast: Many students forget to take this important meal. An empty stomach leads to acid reflux, nausea, headache and more anxiety.
  • Settle down: Be on time at the examination hall but not too early, as the anticipation will make you more nervous
  • Quick relaxation technique: Take a few deep breaths in and out
  • Dealing with the question paper: Read the question paper calmly and space out your time
  • Space: It is a good habit to leave a little extra space after each question and starting a new answer from a fresh sheet. The extra space can be used in case you remember something later that needs to be added.
  • Extra sheets: Don’t worry about who took how many sheets. The extra sheets do not determine the quality of answers.
  • Revision time: Always leave time to revise

After the exam

  • Avoid discussion and post-mortem: Standing around outside for too long and discussing each question will inevitably bring about some answer that you wrote incorrectly. Best not to ponder too long over the question paper.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff: So what if you got a few questions wrong. It is impossible to get everything right all the time.
  • Take a break: Relax, eat, and rest before you start preparing for tomorrow’s examination. Resume when comfortable.

These simple techniques and ways can help students at every step of the way to prepare for the 'big bad wolf' – EXAMINATION. Plus, it doesn't hurt that as parents you'll be more relieved knowing that your ward is stress-free too.

Read: Here’s what your child must be eating for an ALERT brain, before and during exams

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[All images courtesy: Dreamstimes]

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