What is Exam Stress and How to Combat It
What is your first reaction when you hear the dreaded word ‘EXAMS’? Did your heart skip a beat? We are sure when you reminisce the old exam days, all you could think about is fear and stress. Exam stress affects students even today, and the undue competition to score good grades pressurizes children even more. Students have been hardwired to believe that ‘marks are everything’ and good grades equals to a brighter future. Well, this might not necessarily be true. Besides focusing on a certain ‘percentile’ can steal the joy away from learning. Children start focusing on finishing the syllabus, rather than enjoying the essence of the subject.
While all stress is not that bad, and some amount of good stress is beneficial, as it leads to productiveness. The learners assume responsibility and do their best to prepare for an exam, as they feel motivated to beat their own record and perform better with every successive exam in school. On the other hand, over stressing, may lead to anxiety, and affect the child’s mental health in the long run.
Causes of Exam Stress
In order to deal with pre-exam nervousness, it is important to first understand, what is the reason that is causing students so much apprehension. Some of the common stressors that make exam-time difficult include;
Inadequate Study Preparation
Often students don’t take studies seriously through the normal school days, and panic only at the brink of the exam date. Learning & preparation should be a continuous and ongoing process through the academic year. Last minute study is like a burden and trying to cramp too much information within a short span of time, creates anxiety. An ideal scenario would be for the student to be relaxed and continue to do his revision, until the exam day, rather than opening the subject book for the very first time & trying to finish the full portion in 2 days. This disrupts one’s pattern & the child may not be able to give his 100% while appearing for the actual exam, because he’s sleep deprived and tired.
Every parent wants the best for their children. The best education, the best careers, the best degrees, and the list goes on. In the pursuit of achieving the best, parents may unnecessarily pressurize their school going teenagers to score good grades, and even try to secure the first rank in class. For this, poor children are made to undertake additional tutoring after school hours and do oodles of homework. Sometimes, adults tend to compare peer classmates and add to the stress of children to constantly perform at sky-rocket expectations. This becomes too much for the children to handle, and they may lose interest in studies altogether.
Pressure from The Educational Institution
In today’s world, cut throat competition exists everywhere, even when it comes to the reputation of an Educational Institute. In Dubai & UAE alone, there are schools offering different curriculums under the following educational board categories; CBSE, ICSE, International Baccalaureate (IB) and IB Diploma Programme. When the institute has its reputation at stake, they would pressurise children to give their best so that the institution is further known and recognized
Tips to Combat Exam Stress
Firstly, it is important to communicate to students that exams are not a deterrent, but actually an aid in achieving educational milestones in life. Here are some tips to achieve victory over the tension of exams:
Study All Through the Year
Consistency is the key when you want to achieve success in life. Similarly, students must make consistent efforts to study and do their homework on time, such that last minute panic does not arise. Be in sync with what is taught in class, and avoid lag in studying it, because the memory is fresh when you have just learnt the concept and retention is greater.
Ask Questions to Clarify Doubts
Sometimes, seeking the correct answers and clarifying doubts can go a long way in helping students be more confident before exams. One shouldn’t enter an examination hall with ambiguity, because this affects the morale of the student. So better be prepared with the correct answers to important questions which are most likely to appear in the exam paper.
Set Aside Time for Revision
Unless you have a brilliant IQ, comparable to that of Albert Einstein, it is impossible to remember definitions, long answers, or even stages of a math problem, by just studying once. Hence, revision is of utmost importance before exams. Revision reinforces the concepts and helps the child retain facts in their long-term memory. So, prepare a proper schedule, and set aside sufficient time for 2-3 revisions before appearing for the paper.
We are not machines or robots to study 12-14 hours a day before exams. It is important to set aside time for relaxation and rejuvenation too. Students must not quit their hobbies, just by the fear of exams. Continue to go for walks, do yoga and even devote 30 minutes to socialization with friends. When you sit to study again, you would have a renewed spirit of zealousness which will bring positive outcomes.
With this current social distancing scenario, assessments are being held online. Markezy is one such hybrid portal that supports online, as well as pen & paper assessments, and allows the educators to correct the answer sheets at their own convenience, from any remote location. This flexibility and convince offered by the Markezy has made it a popular tool in schools across Middle East, including GCC countries. However, whatever the mode of examination may be, stress can be efficiently managed by following the above mentioned tips.