The exam season in India is like an event, which is given much more importance than it actually deserves. Holidays and celebrations are planned around these exams. I have often cancelled going to a family dinner or a birthday party in my growing up years because I had an exam round the corner which was almost like a life and death situation. Till date I often hear my younger cousins tell me, ''We won't be able to come for the family holiday because we have tuitions followed by exams''. It is a time of absolute anxiety and stress for both the student appearing and the family. Everything else which could be of equal importance is shunned and kept away till this crucial time passes. Exam stress is definitely emerging as a major concern across the country.

When it becomes like a circus!

Exam season in India literally translates to scores of students and parents around the country in a constant state of tension and stress. And that’s actually pretty normal in a way. A reasonable amount of stress and anxiety is also required to motivate a student to work hard. However, the trouble starts when the exam anxiety and nerves become overwhelming for students. Not only can it lead to a bad performance during exams, but can also have an adverse effects on the mental health of the student 

What starts as the regular assessment in school goes onto become something that plans your life ahead. In this era of entrance exams that consume a teenagers beautiful growing up years it is important to find a middle path. It is extremely important to keep your sanity intact and not get dragged into this tempest. 

Parents do not place much importance on the mental health of their child when it comes to exams. The bitter truth is that our education system needs immediate reforms. It must give knowledge, hope and security to young minds; not struggles, insecurities and mental issues. Meanwhile, parents and schools can jointly take steps to help students to deal with anxiety and stress of exams. An ideal situation would be to do away with these exams and find a more suitable method of assessment, but since that is not possible one must learn to handle it. 

Various ways to handle exam stress include

  • Breathe. Do not treat it like a life and death situation. 
  • Give it the amount of importance it deserves. Not more not less.
  • Sleep well. Get the required 7-8 hours of sleep before and after an exam.
  • Talk about what stresses you out and what is it that's causing the anxiety. Seek professional help if required. 
  • Create an environment where the child can talk about his/her poor performance and then seek the best possible solution to deal with it.
  • Never compare the performances of two individuals. It can have disastrous consequences. 
  • Telling a child how many hours their peers are cramming  is harmful. What someone learns in half an hour, another child may learn in 20 minutes or 45 minutes. By blindly comparing studying schedules, one ends up putting unnecessary stress on children.
  • Set achievable goals and targets.

Finally, if the pressure of exams is getting to a child, parents must not hesitate to seek help from a psychologist or a counsellor.