Studies and exams are an essential part of the formative years of our lives. Studying is meant to equip us with the knowledge, understanding and skills we needed to go forward in life. Exams are meant to teach us the value of hard work and persistence and help us cope with the failure and success in a relatively safe and protective environment.
Unfortunately, studies have moved far from what was intended. Students are increasingly succumbing to the psychological distress brought forth by the expectations and demands placed on them. Taking a balanced approach to studies not only restores a sense of emotional well-being, it also takes the fear away from exams and helps in better results. Parents also need to understand the importance of a more holistic approach to academic years and encourage their children towards the same. Academics need to be reclaimed and once again put in perspective one should look forward to acquiring and gaining knowlege instead of something one faces with a sense of dread.
Make learning more experiential: When it comes to learning or studying, move beyond your textbooks and make your subjects come alive. Look towards documentaries and other audio/visual means of learning to gather new information. Focus on the role of what you learn in your day to day life.
Study with the right attitude: Studying isn’t about cramming new information to reproduce in examinations. Studying can be a lot more enjoyable if you approach it with a sense of curiosity and learning more about things that may fascinate you.
Take frequent breaks: Studying doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice everything you enjoy doing. In fact, to study more effectively, it’s a good idea to take short but frequent breaks. Incorporate time with friends, exercise and your favourite television show into your daily time table to ensure that you create a schedule that is sustainable and less monotonous.
Focus on sports and extra-curricular activities: Studies aren’t the be-all and end-all of life. In fact, a focus on sports and extra-curricular activities has been found to be a strong predictor of success in later life. Explore your aptitude and your talents to maximise your potential.
Plan your studies well: Rather than spending the last few weeks cramming your notes endlessly, a better approach is to start studying bit by bit from day one. Doing so will allow you to successfully strike a balance of work and play, where neither would suffer at the cost of the other
Physical exercise is a must: Physical exercise can have a very positive impact on your academic performance. Vigorous exercise produces hormones that make us feel happier and more relaxed, thus allowing us to concentrate better. It also teaches us the value of discipline, hard work and resilience.
Social support is important: Friends and family matter. Exam time is no reason to stop meeting friends or spending time with family. Go out with your friends, do the things you enjoy doing, and make sure you talk about anything and everything besides studying.
The author is director, mental health and behavioural sciences, Fortis Healthcare