Controlling Stress during Exams


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Sonia Dogra

“Dear Stress…Let’s Break Up!!”

So friends, now that you are all braced up and have successfully begun your preparation for the Board Examination let us move on to fight it out. Even as we continue to methodically work towards completing the syllabus and sorting things out, the best of us often get worked up and get those jittery nerves once in a while. In our second series we are going to literally kick these jitters out with some strategic moves to battle stress. So in this series let us break up with stress!

They say it’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it. Scientifically speaking, stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand. When you feel stressed, your body reacts by releasing chemicals into the blood. In simple words it’s release of some extra energy. Now, if there is no outlet for this extra energy and strength then it is sure to pull you down. During exam time, talking of stress assumes paramount importance.

It is pretty normal to feel the pressure of the exams getting to you as time rolls on. It is absolutely fine to feel some anxiety about exams. But only “some”. And while you try to find a way out of it here are a few stress busters that may just about help you.

Believe in yourself. Self confidence can do a lot to help you combat stress. You have been studying hard and have done your bit to master each topic. Be sure that your memory won’t fail you. Also be certain in your ability to recall things at the right moment.

Perfection is a Myth. It is great to aim for the stars but do not believe that anything less than hundred percent means failure. Then you tend to create unnecessary stress for yourself. Try to do your best but just bust the perfection myth.

Take steps to overcome problems. If you feel that you don’t understand some of your course material, then remember that getting stressed out won’t help either. Try to address the problem by seeking help from teachers and friends.

Leave plenty of time to revise. Avoid last minute cramming by investing in enough revision time. This technique reduces Pre exam stress.

Say no to caffeine. Don’t drink too much tea, coffee and fizzy drinks. Caffeine tends to hype you up. Eat healthy and regular meals. Your brain needs the nutrients. Have lots of water. Keep yourself hydrated.

Do regular moderate exercise. This helps to boost energy, clear the mind and reduce stress. Yoga is a great way to relax yourself and helps to keep you calm and balanced.

Avoid Panic. Panic certainly hampers flow of thoughts and one is not able to think clearly. You should certainly avoid a panic situation but if it does happen, simply close your eyes and take several long, slow and deep breaths. In fact it may happen that your mind goes blank if you try to recall a lesson or formula. Remember panicking will make it harder to recall the information.

There is still time. While there is still plenty of time as we still have two months in hand, remember that time has wings and will run out in a jiffy. So even as they seem at a distance, begin right away. This will prevent the stress that comes along towards the end of your preparation days.

Keep time for family and friends. Even though there is a lot that happens during exams, try to keep a balance. Find time for a cup of tea with your family and friends. Spend time with people who make you smile and laugh as they will definitely help you relax.

Have a hobby/me time. Don’t limit your day to books and notes. Take out an odd hour for yourself and devote it to your passion or to anything light that helps you to ease out. It maybe music, reading, a game of basketball or even TV. But remember not to stretch this me time. It should be restricted to an hour or half more.

Take a day off. At the end of six days it isn’t a bad idea to take a day off. But wait…not a complete off. Just go for a light subject or mere revision of the week gone by. Don’t stress, rather de-stress on your holiday.

Avoid procrastination. Are you dilly dallying your work or trying to postpone it for tomorrow. Well, you maybe inviting stress to be your guest. Procrastination always seems easy and fun but it does enough to compound your Pre exam stress.

Take a stroll. Yes, do not sit for too long. At the end of sixty minutes take a stroll. Get up from your chair, take a walk and try to put together whatever you have studied in the past one hour.

Go for a pep talk. If you begin to feel that you are losing it all, check out some positive messages or watch one of those ted talks that can lift up your morale. Parents or teachers can also add valuable inputs and boost you up.

Simulate the examination hall. It certainly makes sense to simulate the conditions in which you will be taking the exam. If you have a similar set up you will sink in easily on the final day and will not find things strange hence doing away with much stress.

Remember stress doesn’t improve anything. Be sure that it definitely makes things worse. It reduces focus and concentration and may even cause shivering, headache and other problems. So it’s best kept at bay.

Life is determined by our reactions to situations. It’s often not stress but your reaction to it that actually kills you. A little amount of stress during exams is never a deterrent. In fact it may just help you to work a little harder. It is only when we allow stress to overpower us that things can turn topsy turvy. For this we just need to remember that examination is just a part of it all. It isn’t a hurdle that cannot be crossed. It just requires patient, dedicated effort. Remember that it’s like a wave. Once at its highest, it can only go down. Just keep busy and channelise your energy.

So, as we hope that this second series will help you to break up with stress, here’s wishing you all happy exam preparation time in a stress free zone. Until we meet again, worry less and work more!!!

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