How NOT to Cope with Exam Stress?

A little exam stress is well, unavoidable, but make sure your child doesn't fall into these traps:

1. Exams DO not mean LIFE

Cliched though it is, it's undoubtedly true - exams AREN’T everything. Whatever you do in your exams, you can still be successful in later life. So try to keep things in perspective as great scores NEVER guarantee a successful and happy life.  You are much more than exam scores, which are never a perfect measure of your abilities. Once done, try to forget about the exam. You cannot undo it and worrying won't change your marks.

Employers don't just look at your exam scores, they're as more interested in your attitude, job skills and people skills.

2.  Being a Superman

Cool! Now come back to real life. You’re not super-human! Covering ten revision topics in a day is not achievable – be realistic! NOBODY can do that. Do challenge yourself but be realistic and keep reasonably achievable goals.

3. Ignore it

Some people respond to exam stress by being normal. Great in the short term but unless you can reverse time, this ‘strategy’ can be dangerous and needs to be recognized fast.

4. All Work and No Play

A ‘lock-down’ i.e. focusing all your time an exam may seem reasonable. However, just like too much self-criticism, this is likely to backfire. Taking time out to enjoy is absolutely essential to give your brain time to rest and digest information and boost energy levels.

5. Beat yourself up

 “I’m not doing enough”, “Haven’t stuck to my schedule”, “I’ll never complete at this pace...”

Sound familiar? To an extent, a little self-criticism can be helpful and makes you disciplined. But too much negativity can demotivate and sap energy levels. Ensure that your child does not fall in this negative, self-perpetuating black hole. Keep in mind that there is life after exams !

6. Overdosing on Caffeine

Extra coffee, cola, or energy drink might help you stay awake an extra hour or so, but it won't do much in the long term!  Caffeine, alcohol and drugs impede your energy and concentration in the long term. It'll also make more difficult to get sleep later. Instead, give your child a balanced diet, with slow-burning-energy foods (like whole wheat bread, fruit and vegetables), plentiful water and sleep.

7. Bottling It Up

If you feel particularly anxious before or after exams, DO NOT bottle up your feelings. Talk to your school counsellor, teachers or parents. Remember, they have taken exams before and know what you are going through. They will be able to help you out.