How can students cope up with Exam Pressure/Academic stress

Sweaty palms, rapid heart beat and cluttered thoughts is what a student’s experience during exam. Though it is normal to feel a bit worried during exam but the pressure to do well in school, obtain perfect scores to secure admission in a good college, to live up to the expectations of the parents, peers, society and maybe self leads to exam stress. Stress can cause the students to feel anxious affecting their sleep, making it difficult to concentrate on tests and ultimately, leading to poor performance.

The first step to deal with the exam anxiety is recognising the signs of stress and anxiety in the students. The success of this fight is dependent not just on the student but also on the unique partnership with various stake holders - parent, educators and the school. Over the years I have seen all my students live through similar stress and by encouraging them to have an open communication between the various stake holders they are able to develop tailor made strategies that has helped them cope and emerge as stronger individuals.

Here are some tips for supporting students deal with anxiety:
  • Setting realistic goals: Provide opportunities for your students to set realistic and achievable short and long-term learning goals. Involving parents in this process can help align their expectations with their child’s.
  • Time Management: Students often get stressed when they feel that they're running out of time to complete something. Developing effective and simple structures around time management can help students to feel relaxed and focused. Developing a plan of action by preparing well and organising time will help address the ‘out-of-control feeling’. Creating a written work schedule and breaking the tasks down into manageable chunks
  • Sleep: For your body's best performance, sleeping and waking up at the same time daily along with seven to eight hours is recommended
  • Positive Self Talk: While feeling anxious students often have negative thoughts and self-doubt themselves. As educators we should try to replace it with a positive one. Make the students look back at how far we have come and how much we have already achieved. Also reinforce that they have prepared well, there should be no reason for you to worry
  • Growth Mindset: Reminding students that a growth mindset, where failure is seen as an opportunity for growth and learning, is a key aspect of success
In this unprecedented time of Covid-19, not only has the economy witness the challenge but so have our students. Education has taken a new shape and so has Stress. Students have a lot of unanswered questions around their future but it is imperative for all of us to understand “Change is the only Constant”. One thing that we must remind ourselves of is 'a healthy mind in a healthy body' and thus we need to nourish not just our body but also our mind. Enriching and nourishing of a mind should become a part of our daily routine self-management strategies such as breathing and minfulness exercises and practising gratitude. Simple breathing exercise can keep the oxygen level in the body well maintained. Scientifically proven that the right amount of oxygen in the brain and body will help keep diseases and stress at bay

The success and unsuccess stories are a part of the same coin. The formula by which a student arrives to the lucrative” Successful” side of the coin is through sheer dedication, hard-work and perseverance along with a lot of hand holding.

Also it is important to remind students that future is what you create and destiny is what you write. Challenges will make you stronger and help you write unique stories which just belongs to a bright future you always want and long for.

Image source-freepik



Dr. Sonia Soni

Head - Career Guidance Counselor
Psychology Faculty-International Curriculum


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