A student’s life can be difficult with rising pressure to perform well in this competitive world! For some , the pressure can be internal from their own self to perform better than rest and for some the perceived pressure can be from external sources such as their family expectations, peers and friends, society and the system to perform academically well! Exams can be an easy ride for some brilliant students who do well with no perceived exam stress, however for a lot of students in the real world preparing for exams and the examination days can be extremely stressful. Many Students get anxious, sad, restless, insomniac, irritable during exams! Exams are a part of the educational system for assessment purpose! One has to prepare well and stay focussed to get good results! These are some simple tips that I have prepared in terms of dos and don'ts for students while handling exam stress! This is not a fully exhaustive list yet I personally believe that it can be of good help to students!
- Stay positive ! Keep Calm! Believe in yourself! Have positive hope!
- Sleep well! Even during exams, if you can sleep your basic 6 to 8 hours it will be wonderful. Do not stay awake the whole night cramming , it will certainly reduce your performance. No matter how tensed you maybe, try to sleep for few hours at least!
- Prepare a time table, manage your time well, chalk out subjects to be covered over the next few weeks and keep one or two weeks for revision of most essential stuff. Plan and prioritize well. Prepare your own brief revision notes of topics you keep forgetting repeatedly.
- Have a study area which is away from noise, TV, distractions, etc. If you do not have a separate room and if it gets distracting at home, study at your school or college library or wherever you feel it is comfortable! But remember you have to be honest to yourself and don’t waste time wherever you may study!
- Play your regular sports and games. Dance if you like! Sing if you like! Go to the gym if you like ! Keep these activities for brief periods during the day to boost your endorphins when you are in your exam preparatory leave, however do not overdo it !
- Diet can play a good role! Eat simple nutritious meals before exams! Ensure you get good intake of vitamins , serotonin, and minerals in your diet which will help to improve your concentration. Drink a glass of milk daily! Eat green leafy vegetables and fruits! Have almonds, nuts, strawberries and perhaps a bit of dark chocolate as well ! A cup of tea or coffee may be helpful as well however it is advisable not to overdo it!
- Talk to your good friends! Try to have friends who are positive, help you prepare better and can be there for you when you feel tensed and you may also help them when they need your help. Call them, talk to your friends, text them when you feel tensed and share your problems with them!
- Practice yoga daily! Do deep breathing Relaxation exercises! Use relaxing images in your mind such as visualizing greenery,mountains, rivers, flowers, etc! Listen to soothing music!
- Stay away from harsh , critical , mean, conflicting friends and relatives during exams as they can lower self esteem and can even make you feel sad and anxious by their remarks and behaviours!
- Pray regularly as per your belief systems! Take good luck wishes from your elders! Stay positive and have faith that All for the best!
- Don't bring in negative thoughts in your mind! Don't compare yourself to others
- Don't let your past affect you! Don't waste your time in overthinking and worrying !
- Avoid Last minute new reading. It causes a lot of stress cramming up stuff last minute if it is not studied earlier!
- Do not indulge in drinking too much tea, coffee, stimulants as it will cause sleep disturbance and will make you more jittery and restless.
- Do not overeat before exams. Avoid outside food as far as possible during exams! You certainly don’t want to fall sick on your exam day!
- Do not try to waste too much time on the computer surfing or watching TV or playing video games excessively. Every minute matters. However if these games refresh your mind or watching an online relaxation video or music helps you relax, plan some time for relaxation as well on your exam days . However keep these breaks strictly monitored in terms of time
- Do not be late for an exam. Try to reach early itself! Being late can set in anxiety in the mind!
- Do not pick up quarrels with family members or friends or bring in any unresolved disputes during your exams. Such things can disturb the mind and can interfere with your ability to perform well.
- Avoid relationship issues and fights with your friends or family prior or during exams. These can affect your mood and concentration a lot! Remember your exam performance should be your first priority!
- Do not withdraw completely and switch off from your family, friends, neighbours, etc in your exam preparatory leave! Stay connected! It always helps to have someone to talk to and to share your problems with!
Do not neglect your mental health and let it suffer ! Despite your best efforts to study and prepare well, if you experience severe anxiety, mood swings, difficulty in concentrating, feelings of hopelessness, negative thoughts, excessive crying spells, fear, panic, not able to sleep well, disturbed sleep, feeling tensed, palpitations, trembling, choking sensation, inability to remember learnt stuff, uneasiness, disturbing thoughts during your preparatory period of leave for examinations , kindly consult a psychiatrist as a priority! The psychiatrist will evaluate you clinically, counsel you, provide psychotherapy and may also suggest some medications based on severity of your symptoms and clinical expertise.