HindustanTimes Wed,22 Oct 2014
Examinations are a part of life, so don’t stress
Sameer Parikh, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 19, 2014
First Published: 11:30 IST(19/2/2014)
Last Updated: 10:49 IST(21/2/2014)
Thousands of SSC and HSC students and parents across Mumbai are turning to helplines and counsellors to cope with fears of blanking out, incessant headaches and nagging insomnia.

It’s once again the same story in every school and household; teachers struggling against time to complete the syllabus, parents nagging children at home to study, and children grappling with the overwhelming stress of impending exams. But it needn’t necessarily be that way. Exams are a part of life . Keeping a long-term perspective in mind, preparing well, and ­having the right social and emotional support can ease this process and make exams a learning process.

Don’t rely on last-minute preparation: You will be leaving too much to chance. This can cause anxiety. Start your preparation months before your exams, pace your studies and revise regularly.

Don’t compare: Don’t compare your marks or discuss the course covered with your friends. Set your own targets and don’t compete with others.

Set realistic targets: Your goals need to be consistent with not just your abilities but the kind of effort you are putting in as well. These need to be goals you set for yourself and not handed down by family or peers.

Use effective study strategies: What matters is not the hours you spend poring over your books, but rather the quality of your study. Prepare notes, highlight keywords, use mnemonics, practise self-tests and revise regularly to improve the effectiveness of your preparation.

Evaluate yourself: Be goal-oriented to ensure that you reach your optimal potential. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, and monitor your progress regularly.
Family is important:  Talk to family members about how you feel and what your apprehensions are. It is also a good idea to keep them updated on your progress, so that they don’t feel the need to nag you to study.

Maintain a healthy ­routine: Make sure that you don’t compromise on your seven to eight hours of sleep. Eat healthy, exercise regularly and stay away from caffeine and cigarettes.

Strike a balance : Exams are going to always be a part of your life. Learn to take them in your stride and lead a normal day-to-day life. Don’t let exams stop you from having fun.

The author is director, mental health and behavioural sciences, Fortis Healthcare

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