Board Exams Anxiety & Remedies
High school is all about pleasant memories. Friends, fun, culturals, sports day, excursions, Annual prize day, first crush, yummy canteen food, Children’ s day and teacher’s day celebration, retirement of the favourite teacher, passing chits in class ,having a small party when the teacher is absent, and many more things makes up high school. These are the things which make us nostalgic, when we look back after years. But there is something which the students consider unpleasant, something which makes the parents worries for their children’s cranky behaviour. With the countdown of days being started and barely having less than a month, we are going to discuss about the Board exams in this article. This article will break the stereotypes about boards and will try to destroy the cliché statements which people have been using since more than a generation.
We need to understand that Board exams itself is not stressful or unpleasant but the expectation set on the students by themselves and also by their family and other people is. If not for the unwanted hype created for the boards, it would’ve have been like every other normal school exam. A psychologist says that an optimum level of arousal and tension is required to perform well in the exams. And also very high or very low arousal can cause no good. Very high arousal can cause the student unwanted anxiety and very low arousal can make the student lethargic. Either way both can lead to the student not performing well in the exams.
Negative thoughts like ‘ i will fail’, ‘what if i forget what i learnt ‘and so on can in turn affect the students a lot without the student even realizing it and cause unwanted anxiety. Miss. Sahana, Clinical Psychologist from WOW says that anxiety activates the sympathetic nervous system which causes the fight or flight response, thus causing bodily reactions such as tremors, sweating, increased heart rate, dizziness etc. When such reactions occur, people tend to misinterpret these bodily symptoms for some catastrophic consequence, thus further increasing their anxiety.
She also says that it is necessary for students to set small goals while making schedules to study and one should not start off with setting ambitious goals. It is important to set small goals, because it increases one’s sense of competence and confidence that they are completing their syllabus, which adds on to their motivation to further study. Once motivation is present, the goals can be slowly increased to complete portions. This in turn will help to reduce one’s anxiety regarding not being able to complete the portions.
Students need to have a positive attitude towards exams. They must be confident enough to face it and should avoid negative thoughts. Students must clearly understand that a single mark sheet cannot judge who they are or what their potential is. Students must understand that marks obtained in boards shall only determine their ability to pursue a certain degree or get into a certain college and does not determine their capacity and productivity on the whole.
Mr. Soundarapandian, biology teacher in MCTM. school elucidates few tips for students to avoids anxiety and perform well in the exams:
1. A month before the exams students should start solving previous year’s question paper. Students
should try maximum not to study any new topics.
2. Students should stop studying anything fresh from a subject, four days before the exam and also
should only revise the topics already studied.
3. The day before the exam, students should have a positive attitude and also must not indulge in
any negative thinking.
4. Students should set all their materials ready before starting to study because searching for
things while studying can lead to waste of time.
5. On the day of the exam, students should check for their comfort in the exam hall. They should
check if their table and chair are fine, if the surrounding is quite and also check for the
necessary detail in their question and answer sheet. Students must report to the invigilator
immediately if there are any issues.
6. Students carry all the required stationery items in a see through pouch.
7. Students should read the question paper twice and understand the questions well before
8. Students should first answer the questions which they know well and then must move on to the
harder ones. While answering, Students should not change the order of the question paper as
much a possible. In sense, if the student has started to attend the section – D first, it is
better to complete the whole section and move on to another section.
He also adds on that students should not discuss or recheck the answers with their friends as that might cause them unwanted worry and any way they can’t change their answers anymore.
Adding to the above, to avoid anxiety, Dr. C Anbudurai, Psychiatrist from WOW Mind & Behavioural Clinic advices the students to involve in Mindfulness meditation. The students must close their eyes and sit with their backs straight and hands on their lap. They should breath in and breath out and watch their breath and witness their whole body getting relaxed. While meditating the students should not think of anything but should pictures some peaceful scenery or their favourite God. Students should slowly bring them back to normal and open their eyes. 15-30 minutes of mediation can work wonders. In the exam hall students can perform palming methods before starting the exam.
Mrs. Divya Karthick, Psychologist from WOW – Mind & Behavioural Clinic, I have been observing board exams and the progress in the stress and anxiety of the students. I often found that the students are pressurized with special classes, with expectation to score more marks, by school management, by relatives and by society as a whole. Now that the trends are changing, each one wants to create their own career in their own areas of interest. Now, our society has become more transparent and the social media is exposing everything openly. The young generation is witnessing their seniors being unemployed in spite of them scoring well in boards. It’s time to change the pattern of evaluation and exams and educate the society to be wiser and seek for job opportunities in various different fields rather than the routine ones.
THE PALMING METHOD
Close and cover your eyes using the center of the palms of your hands. Prevent your hands from touching your eyes by resting the lower parts of your palms on your cheekbones and placing your fingers on your forehead. Your eyeballs must not be touched, rubbed or handled in any way.
Think of some real or imaginary relaxing scene. Mentally visualize this scene. Picture the scene as if you were actually there, looking through your own eyes. Visualize this relaxing scene for one to two minutes. Then open your eyes, look directly into the question paper and start writing your exam.
Now, that we have spoken so much for the students, it is time that we focus on the indirect influences that affect a student’s performance in their exams. Family and school plays a major role.
Have we ever wondered that how much our expectations and behaviour can influence them? Well, we have come a long way and since more than three decades, the cliché statements and stereotypes about board exams still prevail.
Parents should understand that each kid is different from one another. They should be affirmative and supportive to their children.
Tips for parents to help their Children:
1. Parents should make sure that their kid eats right. Because after all, you are what you eat.
Children should be given a lot of vegetables, grains and cerels and should avoid munching on junk as much as possible.
2. Parents should engage the children in daily meditation and exercises. They should also be allowed to enjoy their favourite sitcoms for 20-30 minutes or so because all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
3. Parents should try and make an effort to understand the cranky behaviour of their child and should sit and talk with them and sort it out instead of scolding or punishing them.
4. Parents should talk in a very positive and motivational manner saying ‘You can do it’, ‘Your hard work is definitely going to get paid off’ and so on. But they should also make it a point as of not to set high expectation on the child because that can put the child to guilt.
5. They should make sure that their child gets a good 7-8hours of sleep daily.
6. Parents should not compare their kid with others and understand their kid’s ability.
7. Parents should be supportive and give their child the freedom to think individually and pursue
what course they want.
Schools should follow certain things to enhance the student’s performance:
1. Mock tests should be conducted for the students to bring the practice of writing.
2. Students must be given motivational speech at least once in a week
3. Children who are slow in learning should be identified and given special coaching.
4. Teachers must talk about various vocational fields students can enrol in other than just
engineering and medicine.
5. Children who have learning disabilities should be identified and should be given special
coaching and attention with the help of the school psychologist.
6. Teachers should conduct parent teachers meeting and should talk with parents about the
students’ progress and areas to improve.
Having discussed so much, let us take some time to look at our education system. Since more than 30-40 years the idea that scoring high marks can get a person a successful life has not changed. All that our kids do is rode learning and practical learning is a very rare thing. Students learn pages and pages of stuffs but have they really gained any knowledge from it is a matter of question. Dr. C. Anbudurai, psychiatrist states that our current education system is very mark oriented and has to improve the learning methodology. Students are so keen as to gain centum and feel dejected if not. He states that resilience and coping with pressure should be taught for the students right from 11years itself. Children should know that getting centum or not getting centum cannot determine their knowledge. Shouldn’t we think that our child’s mental health is more important than anything else? Why should we force our children to study engineering and medicine? When will we understand that literature, arts, agriculture, poultry, business, event management, media studies are no less. Can we all encourage our children into more individualistic thinking and allow them to pursue what they want? Don’t we feel that the government should bring in more policies and amendments to improve our education system? Don’t we all have a vision for our future generation? Vision with action can change the world. May we all strive to make our education system better because after all education is not the learning of facts but the training of the mind to think.
Pooja Venkatramanan from WOW