Butterflies in the stomach and worrying thoughts — “Will I be able to answer the questions?” “Have I done enough revision?” — are indications of exam nerves that are probably familiar to all students. In fact, a certain amount of nervous tension probably helps us perform to the best of our ability, producing a rush of adrenaline that helps us to feel alert and focused. But too much anxiety can block thoughts, create a negative frame of mind, and lead to panic and potentially poor exam performance. There are a number of things you can do to help manage exam anxiety and turn uncomfortable, panicky thoughts into more creative tension.
Avoid comparing your abilities with your mates. Everyone approaches revision in different ways, so just make sure you’ve chosen the method that works best for you. Make a realistic timetable. Stick to it.
Eat right and sleep well: Eat well, have plenty of fruits as they make you feel fresh and not drowsy. Pizzas, burgers, and other heavy food items should be avoided; instead one should have lots of juices during this period. Drink lots of water and have a light diet with fruits. Clothing light can also make a difference.
Memory enhancing pills are absolutely useless, they don’t work. If you are well nourished and your haemoglobin is in the right proportion, there is nothing to worry. It is vital to be mentally and physically healthy. For this one needs to play every day for at least 15 minutes, this could include screaming out or even cracking jokes during lunch and dinner.
Exercise: Nothing de-stresses the mind faster than physical activity, so build it into your timetable.
Stay positive: Avoid everything which makes you think negatively about your preparation for the exams. Negative thinking will dent all the confidence you’ve gained and result in exam stress.
Parents may wish for children to fulfil their unfulfilled dreams but parents should understand that they have given birth to children, not to mark sheets. Exams are just practice matches and not match of life. As a parent it is very important to build emotional energy bank. Parents should increase their child’s confidence that whatever the result is, they will always love them, and failing in exam is not the end. Supporting them in odd times may help to relieve
Anxiety is more infectious than influenza or virus. Anxiety is “catching” and can be passed on to children. Attitudes of over-anxious parents can severely affect children’s behaviour.
Stress and anxiety are two aspects of exam fever. In most of the cases it is found to be fuelled by self-doubt. They keep worrying about their lack of performance in their exam papers even if they are well prepared.
Ideas for exam day
• Work out and organise what you need to take with you into your exam the night before.
• If you feel yourself getting anxious just before your exam then spend some time focusing on your breathing. Practise beforehand (it could be as you lie down in bed) so that you learn how to slow down your breathing. Breathe in to a count of three and then breathe out to a count of three. Repeat this steadily for a few minutes.
• On exam day, keep away from other people who may be feeling anxious or who may say unhelpful comments that make you feel more anxious.
• When you first sit down to do your exam, take time to slow your breathing and relax.
• Read through the exam paper carefully. Underline key words and instructions. Work out how long you have for each question or section.
• Watch out for the wording of questions - make sure that you answer what is being asked.
• Work on the questions that you find easiest first.
• Aim to have time to re-read answers through and make any changes that are necessary.
• Remember when you finish your exam - take time out to relax a bit before you start preparing for the next exam - go for a run or have a chat with a friend.
Here are a few ways to beat exam anxiety for children with learning disability
Some of the remedial measures that can be taken are:
• Remedial classes which are usually conducted prior to Class X exams in the school must be started from primary section, by giving special attention to such kids after class hours.
• The special children learn the basic calculations and alphabets by using tools like computer numerical games or “apps” with parental monitoring.
The best way to manage stress in kids is through regular exercising, especially yoga since it works on the body and mind and brings about complete wellness. Children need to breathe in fresh air and a little bit of yoga before their exams can do wonders.
Children who are hyperactive need to do a lot of physical activity and yoga can be a bright way to help them move in a positive direction. It’s a great way to gain awareness of their bodies and surroundings.
Remember exams are just practice matches and not match of life. As a parent it is very important to build emotional energy bank. Parents should increase their child’s confidence that whatever the result is, they will always love them, and underachievement in exam is not the end. Supporting them in odd times may help to relieve
The writer is Special Educator, APEX Centre of Special Education, Indian School Muscat