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Dealing with Exam Anxiety


Here are a few common causes for the exam fear:

  • Fear of failure: Most students worry about their exam performance because they fear failure. Of course one should not enjoy failing but fearing failure and thinking repeatedly about what will happen if they fail, can take the focus away from the studies. As parents and teachers, we should be supportive and not threaten the children with dire consequences, if they don’t do well in exams.
  • Lack of preparation: Poor study habits, lack of concentration while studying, not revising the concepts often, etc., are some of the habits that add to the anxiety levels. Better time management, a planned out study preparation schedule, usually helps.
  • Poor test history: If in the past, a student has not done well in the exams, they usually feel more anxious about the upcoming exams. I have seen several cases in the past, where the students became anxious after receiving their pre-board results.

Some tried and tested methods for tackling examination anxiety are:

  •  Preparing well in advance instead of keeping things for the last minute. Help your children draw a schedule or keep to-do lists on a regular basis; develop good study habits on a regular basis instead of in the last month before exams.
  • Another crucial requirement is not comparing your children and their performance with neighbor’s children or friends. Every individual has his/her own capacity and frequent comparison with others only reduces one’s self–worth and will further add to the existing anxiety levels.
  • As a parent show your confidence in your child’s ability and also model a positive attitude in front of your children. Being in a positive mood improves our focus and attention and also contributes positively to exam performance.
  • Lastly, take up regular meditative practices in your schedule. Do relaxation exercises together as a family. Practicing relaxation on a regular basis has a positive effect on every part of our lives. In terms of examinations specifically, relaxation greatly reduces stress and improves focus and thereby results in better performance. Some relaxation strategies that can be used to reduce exam anxiety are deep breathing and positive visualization

So, help your children enjoy the process of studying and evaluations and let them tackle the examinations to the best of their capacity.

*All names have been changed to protect the children’s identities.

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Shobhika Jaju is a NET qualified psychologist who would love to be reborn as a shrink every single time. She is the founder of Silver Linings: Guidance & Counselling Centre, in South Goa, & hence is effectively putting her love for psychotherapy & her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology to good use. Shobhika also works at Little’s School, Fatorda (Goa) & writes for several print and online media on a regular basis. She facilitates workshops on topics promoting personal enhancement & spreading mental health awareness. She is affiliated to the American Psychological Association, Bombay Psychological Association, Goa Psychological Association & the Movement for Global Mental Health. Her website can be accessed at silverliningsgoa.com.

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