Most of us can look back on our school days and remember the anxiety-ridden nights before our exams. Whether it was a simple class test or a final year exam, we definitely faced our share of ‘exam stress’. However, the repercussions of such anxiety and frustration can sometimes be rather damaging to one’s confidence, cognitive abilities and emotional health. Children today feel more pressure to perform to the best of their abilities within their academic environments. This often leads to symptoms such as disturbed sleep, sensitive moods, irregular eating habits, headaches, and even nausea. That’s why it is absolutely crucial to ensure that your child is not falling prey to the pressures and anxieties that revolve around exam time. Here are four way to help your child or student cope with their examination stress.
Make learning fun: Learning becomes detrimental when it serves as a competition amongst students. Instead, it should be aimed at being a fun activity that can aid one’s cognitive and social skills. In accordance to the student’s age, there are numerous ways to make learning and revision more enjoyable. For example, instead of simply memorizing the lessons, it might be far more effective to learn using flashcards, contextualized scenarios (i.e., ‘We have four apples in our fruit bowl and there are two sisters in the house. How many do each get?’), or even creative games.
Catch up with them: Consistency is key. It helps to catch up with your child throughout their school year as opposed to only the night before the exam. Ask them how they’re responding to the lessons, how they’re going about their revisions or practice, and so on. This way, you can help or guide them through any difficulty they might be facing in a particular subject or lesson.
Breaks are necessary: Everyone needs a breather. Our brains are not machines – they need time to relax and rejuvenate. It can be easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of examination stress and academic competition. That is why it’s important to know when to pull the brakes. Encourage your child to distribute their time to other activities apart from studying. This could be listening to music, catching up with friends and family, meditation and yoga, playing outside, and so on.
Achievable goals: One needs to identify their child’s weaknesses and strengths early on. This would allow them to set realistic goals and help them find solutions unique to their abilities. Being a top ranker is not every child’s priority or interest. That is why positive reinforcement is the key to helping your child cope through the pressures of impending examinations and assessments. Normalise the act of making mistakes and learning from them. Set objectives for your child that sit in line with their interests and natural learning abilities.