Dealing with last minute pressure

Dealing with last minute pressure

Board Exams

Dealing with last minute pressure

Once again, the dragon called board exams is inching closer. With exams ready to roll from 2nd March, the students are all jittery. Those who have burned midnight oil throughout the year are nervous too. Many are scared that on the day of the exam they will forget everything and go blank. 

According to experts, this fear is merely because of stress and it is absolutely normal to feel anxious. For those who have been regular with studies over the last few months, there’s no real reason to worry. However, this anxiety should not take a toll on one’s physical or mental health.

Abdul Mabood, director of Snehi which pioneered pre-exam counselling for students in distress or doubt, informs that on an average his helpline Disha is getting about 30-35 calls per day from all over India. The most common problem student face is of retention and concentration. Some have subject specific problems, while some start believing that they won’t be able to achieve the targeted percentage. The helpline number 011-65978181 gets activated every year a few days before the exams.

“We ask them to be sure of what they have studied by writing down and making notes. It gives them a sense of confidence and also lets them know how much they have retained. Because ultimately, they have to write the exams,” he says.

“Then they can also try some yoga as a relaxation technique. Additionally, there is no point in studying continuously for hours. No mind can function with same concentration after 50 minutes or one hour. A break of 10-15 minutes prepares the mind for another session of study,” he shares.

Senior psychiatrist and Director, Mental Health and Behavioral Science of Fortis Healthcare Dr Samir Parikh says the key to dealing with the pressure of board exam is to continue leading a normal life.

“Students should remember that exams are a part of life; this isn’t the first or the last exam you’re going to have to take. Besides, to gain confidence self-tests are a good idea for those who feel extremely nervous. Take these tests in an exam like environment to get used to the setting; practice tests in your school uniform. Regular tests will give a realistic evaluation of where you stand,” he advises.

Contrary to popular belief, the maximum amount of forgetting happens within the first 24 hours. It is, therefore important to revise. “Topics should be revised on day 1, 2, 15 and 30 to ensure maximum retention. While revising, remember only to revise notes and highlighted sections,” says Dr Parikh.

A healthy diet is a must for it helps to keep the body and mind calm before and during the exams. Dieticians say it is best to avoid junk food and fried stuff till the exams get over. Starting the day with good breakfast – a bowl of a cereal or egg with bread and protein rich foods are essential for optimising mental performance and alertness through the day.

Varuni Upadhyay, a dietician at Rockland Hospital in Dwarka says, “Drink plenty of water for your brain to function at optimum level. It needs to be fully hydrated as it acts as a transport system in delivering nutrients to the brain and eliminating toxins. It is very essential for concentration and mental alertness. Avoid heavy, fried and junk food as they make your brain sluggish.”    
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