Once again, it is that time of the year when CBSE, ICSE and state board exams are around the corner. Close to 3 million students all over the country have registered for CBSE class 10th and 12th exams. Add ICSE and state boards and the number could be much higher. This is a trying time for all these students.
Due to anxiety, performance pressure, and last-minute preparations, often these students feel psychological pressure. Unfortunately, it is not just the syllabus and other academic factors which pushes students into a silent cocoon. We often hear stories where non-academic factors were much more anxiety-provoking as compared to the heap of syllabus. What makes things worse during these days is the tendency of family members and peers to tell the stressed students to 'get obsessed with studies leaving everything behind’.
Simply put, for those students who may already be in a vulnerable state, a high-pressure situation such as the exams can be the final straw.
What can the parents of a young student do in such a situation? Here are five suggestions:
“For students who may already be in a vulnerable state, a highpressure situation such as the exams can be the final straw”
• Be Vigilant: The first and foremost thing for parents is to be on a lookout for any kind of warning signs. Some of these signs could be subtle due to obvious changes in the lives of students. For example, reduced appetite and sleep pattern could be common and may not necessarily indicate any extreme tendencies. However, any minor behavioral changes should not be missed and actively addressed by the parents.
• Maintain a Healthy Conversation: While it is essential for parents to cut down distractions at home as much as possible, they also need to keep talking to their children at regular intervals to get a sense of how they are feeling. These conversations help parents understand any areas where they can help their ward, be it a subject that needs extra classes, or an exam thought that is horrifying them. Parents need to assure them that they are there and that their unconditional support will not change depending on how they fare in the exams.
It is also helpful to play down the significance of the exams itself. Parents need to avoid statements like, 'this exam will make or break your future’ or 'If you want to do well in life, you must do well in these exams' etc.to reduce the stress at this point.
• Monitor their Preparation: Parents should identify and understand the strength of students and help them align their preparations accordingly. This means guiding them to focus on topics that they are well versed with, instead of making last minute efforts to cram new formulae or things they may have missed earlier.
• Focus on a Dealthy Diet: It is very important that a student gets enough rest and nourishment during this time. In case they find it hard to consume a full meal, encourage them to include fruits and liquids in their diet. If they prefer to study till late at night, ask them to take frequent naps to manage the fatigue. Keep a check on water intake to avoid dehydration. This will help them stay physically fit and have better concentration during study hours as well as in the exam hall.
While these suggestions may help control the immediate anxiety and prepare well for board exams, in case there are any extreme situations, it is important for parents to seek an expert’s advice. This will help students get over the stress and focus on their exams and the life ahead.