I’m scared, I’m worried, my stomach hurts. These are the typical symptoms children show at the time of exams due to stress – worried about completing the portions and getting good grades. Just before exams, children undergo several stress situations including mind-blocks, numbness, anger, snappiness etc. The stress reaches its pitch just before the exams, causing palpitations, anxiety and sweating just 30-45 minutes before the exam starts. It is during this vital time – just an hour before the paper starts, that students should laugh and smile. Pranayam Breathing exercises like Anulom Vilom and Kapalabhati help a lot in relaxing and remaining calm.
Most children are hit by those last-moment scary thoughts like what questions will come and will they be able to score well. But since that is not in your control, don’t think like that and give in to panic.
Importantly, avoid contact with students who are already panicky, as they get you there too!
Consider walking to the exam if the venue is under-20 mts of a walk as any physical activity before exams – walking, running, cycling – increases the blood circulation, kills stress, aids retaining your studies and hence boosts your marks significantly. A brief, vigorous workout just before taking an exam can meaningfully improve test scores because memory, creativity and alertness improve measurably right after exercise.
Vital tips to remember during exam time include:
1) Wake Up Earlier Than Normal: Allow yourself an extra 20-30 minutes to wake up and eat a healthy breakfast. Do a quick run through of your sample questions, unless you feel it will make you more anxious.
2) Walk Confidently: You’ve done all you can to prepare, now enjoy the confidence of knowing you’re giving it your all. Take pride in your efforts.
3) Use the Positive Stress (Eustress): In Public-Speaking when we speak before a crowd, positive tension is needed for a great presentation. Similarly, exam tension can be an asset sometimes.
4) Stay Positive: As a positive mind and attitude is a cherished asset always, a positive student is never stressed in any difficult situation.
5) Never Fast Before Exams: Eat healthy food and do not give exams on an empty, under-fed or over-fed stomach.
Also just before the exams, use the ‘5-5-5 Breathing Technique’ to prevent anxiety. Breathe in slowly to a count of 5, completely expanding the lungs. Hold in the breath for a count of 5, then release it slowly, again to a count of 5. Repeat until calm. This will enable the student to recall information that has been stored in the memory more easily, and you won’t go
‘blank’ during your examinations. If at all you do go blank, shut your eyes and breathe deeply and slowly. Be patient, go through that question again and again and also think of a related topic and you will soon remember the answer.