Break free from Exam Stress – Livi K Yeptho, Assistant Professor, Department of Education.

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Stress is a common problem that affects almost all of us, particularly students at some point in their lives. Many times, stress helps people stay more focused and energetic. But beyond a certain point it can become a ‘Distress’. As such, it is essential to know how to tackle stress before it gets the better out of us.

Break free from Exam Stress 

With Exam season around the corner, high levels of stress and burnout can hamper the students  and give unreasonable panic attacks  which may result in fatigue, forgetfulness, anxiety, loss of interest, drastic change in their attention span, insomnia, dizziness, frustration and headache. Stress is an emotional pressure and a mental fatigue of a person which is commonly faced in every aspect of life. There can be lots of pressure on students and one of it is the examination stress which can make stress levels get out of hand and can hinder the students from performing their best. Examinations are crucial and an unavoidable part of student’s life that can be tough to crack, and the stress that comes with along it, is a common issue dealt with by the students throughout their academic life. However, stressing out will only make it harder to take the exam. Here are some reasons responsible for the cause of stress experienced during or before exams:

Lack of preparation: The lesser you study the more you become tense and worried. Studying at the eleventh hour brings you a heavy burden and would make you realise that you don’t have much time for preparation as the syllabus is vast to cover up within the stipulated time.

Self comparison with the mates and competition: With the rise in competition among the students they tend to compare themselves with others causing lot of pressure that leads to stress with the fear of failure. As the old saying goes “Comparison is the thief of joy” Try not to compare other people’s revision with your own for this will only end up making you more tensed.

Family pressure: High expectation from the parents’ end may cause anxiety and nervousness for some students as they have to strive to match up to their parent’s expectations by not withstanding his/her capabilities.

To tackle these situations here are some useful tips to prepare for exam and overcome stress:

Plan a routine: Count the number of days or months left before the exam and divide the number of days so that you can cover up the syllabus. To help sort out your time, organise your routine accordingly, balancing the subjects that you need to give more time. Establish a consistent study routine and stick to it regularly.  There is a saying that preparation holds the key. So studying regularly will make you feel more prepared and therefore less stressed. Find the right time to study i.e., morning, evening or night time. Pick a time which you think you have the greatest potential that can give the best use of it during your study period. Shift between the study subject categories after a day or two as studying particular subjects for more than a week can make you feel frustrated. As soon as you start studying any topic write yourself down a study guide by extracting the important points and terms that can help you remember or recall back after you go through the whole revision.

Review your syllabus and utilize your calendar: Mark on your calendar how many days you need to cover up a particular syllabus or a subject and divide the number of days left for your exams accordingly with the number of subjects in your own adjustments.

Take breaks and get enough sleep: Take frequent breaks in between your study by taking a walk to a garden, park or around your neighborhood. It can ease off the tension and enhance your brain activity. Take 6-7 hours of sleep for optimal health boost and well being. One of the important roles of sleep is to help us consolidate memories.

Follow healthy eating habits: Eat healthy foods that are rich in vitamins and proteins. Take vegetables and fruits as it can enhance overall relaxing effects to your body and avoid consuming too much fats and food products that are heavily processed. Consume less meat during exam days or if you do so, add roughage to your diet that can help in further discomfort. Also never skip breakfast as it can boost energy early in the morning.

Strive to relax when you feel tensed: Keeping things bottled up will make you worse so talk out your stress with friends and family to keep yourself relaxed. And also stay away from stressful people as it can make you feel more tensed.

Take time for revision:Before going to bed take few minutes for memorization and revision of important points or answers but avoid cramming. And make sure that your stationary things along with your admit card is ready for the next day.

Be punctual: Most students are vulnerable to stress on the first day of examination by becoming nervous and overwhelmed. The best way to overcome unnecessary stress on the first day is to arrive 15-30 minutes ahead at the examination venue. Focus on yourself and ensure that you take all your personal belongings with you before you enter your exam hall.

Sometimes, little stress can be a good thing as it motivates us to work even harder.  There is a saying that “the best view comes after the hardest climb”. So, working hard is never a waste but it will always follow with good results. It is not necessary that one has to be perfect to achieve success but when we are putting the effort every single day, success will automatically follow us. It is quite natural to have stress during exams. But as the saying goes, “stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and think of what could go right”.

Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Tatongkala Pongen, Seyiesilie Vupru, Vikono Krose and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email:


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