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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

STRESS MANAGEMENT


CONQUER STRESS
Children face many hurdles in getting a good score in board and competitive exams.

Usha Albuquerque lists remedial measures that can help students.
Stress is what most students are experiencing nowadays, especially those who are on the verge of appearing for the board examinations.

There are several reasons that add to stress load among students. In today’s fast paced competitive world students have to ensure that they consistently score good marks in order to be able to make it not only to the next class but more so, to qualify for admissions to college. With increasing numbers competing for limited seats  in the better known and recognized institutions, those who are unable to cope, or slacken in their studies in any way, feel the pressure of competition. This is particularly so near examination time, when the course has to be completed in class, tutorial work continues alongside and there is anxiety of exams looming ahead. Students who may not have covered all the portions to be revised feel the pressure as it gets intensified during this time:

There are certain tips that are worth keeping in mind, in order to cope with stress:

  • Preparations for examinations should begin at the beginning of the year. Continuous revision and practice on sample papers is one way of keeping pace with the work being done in school.
  • It is also important to keep one’s expectation realistic. Not everyone can make it to the top institutions or courses. Yet the same time it is good to be aware of other alternatives, opportunities and courses for students who are unable to meet the cut off requirements. And parents and teachers must understand this and be as supportive as possible.
  • The immediate hours or day before an exam should be kept purely for last minute revision. This is when you can work over the sections which you have found tough during the earlier reviews and tests. It is not the time for study of new materials, as your anxiety will work against retaining anything new. It is, therefore, important to complete all the revision well in advance.
  • You will have to make drastic changes in your daily schedule cutting down on all distracting activities. You don’t have to cut off all these activities completely, but curtail these sufficiently to get you some extra hours each day. You must however, give yourself break times when you can relax with   a book, movie or TV show. Make sure you also maintain an exercise regimen, as physical exercise is know to enhance mental performance.
  • Ensure that you stay healthy. You cannot afford to fall sick during exam time. All the year’s hard work will be wiped out it you fall sick. So get enough sleep, eat sensibly and at regular hours(eating  out at wayside dhabas and junk food exposes you to infections of all kinds- avoid them) and make sure you get sufficient relaxation- take a break every couple of hours. Better 5 minutes break after every 30 minutes’ study. Your time-table should also include meal times, relaxation periods, exercise and sleep. Taking a walk, running or playing a sport will help you return to studies more refreshed. Also, make sure that you do not lose out on your sleep. You must make it a point to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. And don’t be over ambitious. Make a realistic schedule. Trying to do too much will only you frustrated and more anxious.
  • Parents and teachers can play a very vital role in helping student cope with stress. Parents should help to create an environment suitable for study.  A separate part of the house where the students can have peace and quiet is essential. There should be limited number of distractions, and parents should ensure that the child gets sufficient relaxation period.
  • If examination phobia is making your child ill, worried, stressed, then you need to talk to your child about it and encourage him/her to rationalize the problem and come to terms with the anxiety. Parents can help students concentrate on preparation rather than worrying about marks. If the anxiety is more acute, however, professional help should be sought.
  • Most important however, is for parents not to transfer their anxieties on their children, nor to burden them with unrealistic expectations.
  • Teachers, on the other hand, are the best guides for help before examinations. They are experienced and have seen so many other students through this difficult period and know the problems they may encounter.
  • Most importantly, students must learn to relax. If you are an anxious kind of person, take long deep breaths every time you feel nervous. This will calm you down. You can also start by sitting for one mock exam every day from now on, keeping the same timing as will for the real test.
  • Make sure you arrive for the exam well in time, and that you have all the required material with you, ready and available, if possible, the night before. Once you sit with the question paper, spend extra 15 minutes to read it carefully and understand each question clearly before attempting the answer – underline key words and instructions. Tick the questions you intend to answer. Make a rough timetable, allocating equal time to equally weighted questions- and allow for about 10 minutes at the end for a final review. Answer the easiest questions first and save the most difficult one for last. Finally, if there are certain questions you feel you cannot answer, move on to the next and answer well those you know.
  • Relax- exams are just the pebbles on your road to success. Tactful manipulation of the questions effectively will enable you to racing ahead to victory.
-         The writer is a career expert.

Source: Jobs & Careers, The Tribune, February 15, 2012.

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