Stress levels rise as exams near

Stress levels rise as exams near

Experts say that despite increased awareness, parents continue to pressurise wards, causing stress and depression

Students are enrolled in multiple courses and the long hours take a toll on them.

As the board examinations for CBSE, ICSE, ISC and PUC students approach, the anxiety level is high in the city. Between tuitions, revisions and preparation tests, they are additionally taxed after being enrolled in integrated courses.

These courses, which prepare students for competitive and entrance exams, are combined with their school hours, thereby increasing the time a child spends in school by an extra 3-4 hours. This means that a youngster might spend upwards of 10 hours on studies daily these days. 

Dr Safiya M S, consultant psychiatrist, Mind and Brain Hospital, says that not all students are cut for such courses. “Not all children are psychologically ready for such long hours. If a student fits into such a format, which can be determined by the school or the eagerness of a student, then it works. Otherwise, the parents might feel that their wards are spending a lot of time studying but the end result is not always positive,” she says. 

She feels that these courses should be banned. “It is continuous harassment. Students don’t have time to rest in this structure and this is increasing the stress among adolescents. There is a 30 percent rise in youngsters coming with stress-related issues now,” she says.   

Dr Ravi Prakash, director of Veditha Mind Care, adds that competition has increased the load on students. “Be it the competitive exams for engineering, medical or commerce streams, our education system is inclined towards overloading students with information. Integrated courses are a major reason for this,” he says.   

Institutes providing integrated course/mentoring programmes claim that students with a deep interest in the subject are the ones who enroll. 

Modali Venkat Hari Kishan, marketing head of Allen Career Institute, points out that the number of students taking up integrated courses have increased by leaps in the last decade.

“We provide courses spread over four days, which are from 5 pm to 8.30 pm. Our teachers are well-equipped to counsel and train students for national admission tests. Schools provide conceptual knowledge. Courses like ours provide proper mentoring with application-oriented exposure with numerical solving skills within a given period of time,” he says. 

Distress calls spike 

Dr Ravi Prakash, director of Veditha Mind Care, says that distress calls have spiked in the last two months. Most counselors get more distress calls from parents and students around January/February.  

He says, “The calls have steadily increased over the years. There is a 10 to 15 percent hike in calls compared to last year. Students are calling about issues related to attention deficit, concentration problems and even depression.”

High-scorers get the jitters

It is often the toppers who are more anxious around exam time, observes Jennifer Tavares, counselor and special educator, Pledge Academy. “Parents are more aware of increased stress during examinations but the pressure on children hasn’t come down. Often students who call me, tell me how they have never failed before and the reasons for such fears now. Many of these students who get anxious would have scored well in their pre-board exams,” she says.

Parents feel the heat too

Anjali Saxena, a software professional, whose daughter Deepthi (names changed), is preparing for her CBSE tenth board exams, feels that the child is not taking the exams seriously.

“Though I do not want her to study all the time, I want her to realise that these scores affect her future and what she can take up for her PUC days. Sometimes, social media and the videos we see there make everything sound so trivial that things are treated quite lightly,” she says.

‘Understanding the stress level is important’
“When an athlete is preparing for a race, his coach will obviously motivate him. But when the athlete has a fracture, the coach would know when to stop and let him rest. This is exactly how parents need to know when to stop pressurising children. Understanding the stress level of a child is important for performance.”

Dr Ravi Prakash, director, Veditha Mind Care

‘Awareness about stress is more’
Tasneem Nakhoda, psychotherapist for emotional well being at Tattva Counseling, notes that parents are aware of the pressure on students appearing for board exams.
“In the last 2-3 years, parents have become increasingly aware that it is important for their children to have a stressbuster. They ensure that their children are involved in some activity apart from studies to help them relax,” she says.


Writing your boards? Cut the stress
*Have a balanced, nutritious diet, with timely meals.
*Sleep well. It is important to have 6 to 7 hours of sleep.
*Take regular breaks. The moment you feel distracted or aren’t able to concentrate, step away for 10 minutes and refresh yourself.
*While studying, make quick notes with pointers. Have a study partner or group to fall back on, when you feel a bit discouraged. 
*Rest well and stay calm the day before and the day of the examination.