Board exam & COVID

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Dear Editor,
The stress of appearing for board exams is here again. Exam stress is not new, intervention at the right time and professional counselling, help in balancing expectations of parents and the child.
A little stress around exam time can be a good thing, as it motivates you to put in the work. But sometimes stress levels can get out of hand, particularly at the end of an academic year.
Some students are just exam persons – they have no distress getting their heads down to brush up and seem to fly without blinking their eye, but for many others, examination can be extremely stressful.
Even the word examination may leave them in apprehensions. This year due to COVID pandemic it has become difficult for students to deal with the exam stress.
Stress causes you to worry more, experience anxiety and depression, lose sleep, become forgetful, irritable, overwhelmed, exhausted and feel-out of control.
This can really impact on your ability to prepare for your assignments and exams, as well as negatively affect your levels of performance and sense of well-being.
A simple and very practical step is to develop a plan of action by preparing well and organising your time and workloads. This will help address that ‘out-of-control feeling’.
It’s very important to be focused while you are learning or revising, and to be focused you need much concentration.
Moreover, a good sleep is what you need to get focused. Sleepless nights can leave you feeling tired and low in energy. Set yourself a definite time to go to bed and stick to it. No matter what, sleep for 7-9 hours.
Setting aside a couple of minutes every day to practice mindfulness techniques, such as breathing exercises helps you to calm down your body’s stress response and shift your attention back to present moment.
In turn, this gives you time to rationally think through the anxieties you have, rid yourself of unhelpful thought patterns and enable you to begin more effective revision.
When being constantly faced with new challenges, we often forget to look back at how far we have come and how much we have already achieved. If you have prepared well, there should be no reason for you to worry. Therefore, when experiencing a negative thought, try to replace it with a positive one. For example, instead of thinking ‘If I don’t get at least a 2:1, I am a failure’, think ‘Whatever I get, I will be proud of myself and value how much I have already achieved’. You can do this!
In the absence of a supportive infrastructure in this crucial times of COVID , children often internalise the stress from school and home, which then develops into behavioural disorders.
We need to build emotional intelligence in students that helps them recognise their strengths and weaknesses, teaches them to motivate themselves and understand those around them better.
It becomes the moral responsibility of parents to help children to overcome this stress. Parents need to make them understand that it is just an exam and one need not get stressed, rather do your best. We as parents need to make them learn that numbers cannot define success or failure and one need to be hardworking and focused to achieve success and must not get stressed.
Dr Shubangi Sharma,
Kathua.

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