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Friday, March 1, 2024

Exam Stress: Amid News Of Student Suicides, Psychiatrist Shares Dos And Donts For Students And Parents

Niharika Solanki, 18, had a few last words for her parents and the world before she ended her life. The teenager, who had been preparing for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) in Rajastha’s Kota, wrote in what seems to be a suicide note: “I am a loser. Worst daughter… This is the last option.” According to reports, the National Crime Records Bureau 2022 annual report, released in December last year, showed that students constituted 7.6 per cent of the total number of suicides. Experts say it’s important for parents to ensure that they don’t pressurise their children, but it’s easier said than done. In a country where employment can be a struggle and everybody is hustling for a better life, a certain amount of pressure seems inevitable. Dr Viddur Arya, Associate Consultation – Psychiatry,  Metro Hospital, Faridabad shares some practical tips for students looking to ace competitive exams and their parents.

Managing Exam Stress: Dos And Don’ts For Students

From March, competitive exams begin, right from the school level. Whether it’s the boards, or the JEE following that and other big tests which can decide the course of your career, it’s exam time for students and parents, quite literally. There can be no alternative to hard work and while preparation and preparedness are key, you also need to realise perfectionism isn’t possible and avoid comparing yourself to others. Dr Viddur Arya shares tips for students – what they should and should not do. 

Dos For Students

 Time Management: Plan your study time effectively and set realistic goals.

• Organisation: Keep your study materials well-organized for easy access.

• Reward Yourself: Celebrate small victories during your study sessions.

• Prepare: Thoroughly study the material beforehand.

• Practice: Regularly engage in mock exams to build confidence.

• Breaks: Take short breaks during study sessions to avoid burnout.

• Healthy Lifestyle: Maintain a balanced diet, exercise, and get enough sleep.

• Positive Mindset: Focus on your strengths and past successes.

• Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness techniques to stay present and focused.

• Support System: Seek help from friends, family, or teachers when needed.

Don’ts For Students

• Isolate Yourself: Avoid complete isolation; interact with friends or family for support.

• Negative Comparisons: Refrain from comparing your progress to others negatively.  Everyone has a different pace; don’t compare yourself to others.

• Aim For Perfectionism: Accept that perfection is unrealistic; focus on doing your best.

• Last-Minute Changes: Avoid making significant changes to your study routine right before the exam.

• Skipping Breaks: Don’t skip breaks; taking short breaks can enhance productivity and reduce stress.

• Procrastinate: Avoid last-minute cramming; plan your study schedule.

• Overload: Don’t overwhelm yourself with excessive information.

• Negative Thinking: Challenge negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.

• Caffeine Overload: Limit caffeine intake to prevent increased anxiety.

How Parents Can Help Children Prepping For Competitive And Board Exams

Be it Board exams or other competitive exams, when children take tests, parents also feel like it’s their exam time in India. Dr Arya says it’s important to be supportive and having unrealistic goals for their kids and pressurising them are a big no. Dr Arya lists the following dos and don’ts for parents.

Dos For Parents

• Open Communication: Encourage your child to express their feelings and concerns about exams.

• Provide Support: Offer emotional support and reassurance that you believe in their abilities.

• Create A Positive Environment: Foster a calm and positive atmosphere at home during the exam period.

• Help With Planning: Assist your child in creating a study schedule and setting realistic goals.

• Healthy Lifestyle: Ensure they maintain a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and engage in physical activity.

• Celebrate Effort: Praise your child for their effort rather than just focusing on grades.

• Create A Quiet Space: Provide a quiet and comfortable study space for better concentration.

• Offer Rewards: Consider small incentives or rewards for reaching study milestones.

• Celebrate Completion: Celebrate the end of exams, regardless of the outcome, to reduce post-exam stress.

Also Read: How To Manage Stress In Workplace And Not Be Overwhelmed – Experts Share 10 Tips

Don’ts For Parents:

• Pressure and Criticism: Avoid putting excessive pressure on your child and refrain from constant criticism.

• Comparison: Do not compare your child’s performance to that of other children.

• Overinvolvement: Give your child space to study; avoid micromanaging or doing their work for them.

• Negative Talk: Steer clear of negative language or instilling fear about exams.

• Ignoring Concerns: Don’t dismiss your child’s concerns; address them and offer constructive solutions.

• Setting Unrealistic Expectations: Avoid setting unrealistic expectations; recognise and appreciate individual effort.

• Overemphasising Results: Refrain from placing too much emphasis on grades as the sole measure of success.

• Interrupting Study Time: Avoid unnecessary interruptions during their study sessions.

Late-Night Discussions: Avoid discussing exams or academic concerns late at night to promote better sleep.

• Ignore Signs of Stress: Don’t ignore signs of excessive stress; be attentive to your child’s well-being and seek professional help if needed.

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