Exam anxiety is tension along with worry, dread, and fear of failure that occurs before or during an exam. It is an experience of feeling an intense moment of fear or panic. Every student who aims to become a high-achiever experiences exam stress. It is an unavoidable part and can be a hard to get over. Remember, stress exists for a reason and you can choose to let it be your downfall or use it to drive you to improve your work.
Exam stress may happen due to low motivation levels, lack of preparation, high expectation from others and competition. The important things to remember is to not allow stress to overwhelm your kid instead motivate him to use it to push himself harder. Negative feelings need to be set aside and the focus should be on studies. Exam anxiety interferes with the kid’s ability to show his academic and cognitive capabilities. Managing anxiety effectively can help with exam performance. Here are some ways to relax and calm your kid’s anxiety before or during an exam.
- Breathe – Whenever in stress ask your kid to close his eyes and take deep breaths. Breathing sounds too easy to be helpful but expanding your chest to take a deep breath relaxes muscles and encourages them to work normally again. Breathing helps in increasing the flow of oxygen which helps in energizing the brain, reduces stress, and improves thinking.
- Take time out – Kids are under tremendous pressure to dedicate every waking moment to studying, but it is important to allot part of their schedule to rest and reconnect with the people they love. Going on walks to enjoy the fresh air, eating dinner with family, playing with pets or brewing a cup of tea can all relax their nerves and give them time to think and regain their confidence.
- Take short breaks – Researches have shown that brain requires time to integrate knowledge. If we do not slow the flow of information, our mind becomes saturated at a faster rate than we can store new data. Set a timer for your kid to study, and also set up the timer for regular short breaks while preparing for an exam.
- Exercise and play – Many researches have proved that physical exercise or a short game is a remarkably effective antidote to stress. It is important to focus on your body rather than your worries. We carry our stress in our bodies and exercise moves our muscles, increases blood flow and works out a good percentage of body knots. After a good exercise when your kid will return to studying, his focus will be improved which will help him concentrate better.
- Sleep – Sometimes we feel that pulling an all-nighter shows our seriousness but studying all evening is the worst possible response to anxiety. It is nearly impossible to remember material read at 3 a.m., but a lack of sleep also clouds our mind the next day. Fatigue damages our resilience. Stress is hard on our body. Breathing and exercise can alleviate the effects of anxiety, but none of them will be as effective as sleep. Sleep is how short-term memories that are formed while studying become long-term memories that can be recalled during test-taking. Ensure that your child gets proper sleep before the exam and is well rested.
- Control the preparation – Academic stress comes from a feeling of lack of control over the situation. To tackle these problems make a schedule with goals for your kid to achieve and managing time accordingly. Making a schedule gives a sense of progression and required tasks can be completed in time which can reduce stress. Ensure that your kid puts in initial efforts, so that they become more productive and motivated each day as they approach their study and understand their learning progress.
- Meditate – Meditation is one of the most effective ways to take a break and see stress from a different perspective. Practicing meditation is another way to maintain focus while improving both mental and physical health to reduce exam stress. If you kid likes to meditate then this could be an effective solution to calm nerves and act as a stress buster.
- Eat dark chocolate – Eating dark chocolate which is over 70% cocoa fights the stress hormone cortisol and has an overall relaxing effect on the body. Plus chocolate releases endorphins which act as a natural stress fighter. You can treat your kid with dark chocolate when they are feeling stressed out and anxious.
- Use mobile apps – There are many mobile apps designed to improve our quality of life. Whether we want to get better organized, improve our mental capabilities or work on our language skills, there is an app for everything. These apps are a fun way to relax and help your kid study in a fun and non-stressful way. These apps could also help your kid with the planning of their studies.
- Break free from distractions – We don’t even realize how many times we check Facebook, Instagram or other social media apps. And once we start using them we have wasted a huge amount of time while scrolling down before we realize that we are not doing something productive. It can be hard for kids to detach themselves from what is happening outside of studying but keeping the end goal and timeframe in mind will ease the process. There are apps which let you block apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. Ask your kid if blocking these apps might help him in reducing distraction and allow him to concentrate on his studies. Don’t force your kid and put this forward as a recommendation.
At times, stress is unavoidable, especially when preparing for exams. A little stress can be a strong motivator, but a lot of stress is harmful and may jeopardize your kid’s performance. You can use the tips given above to decrease exam anxiety in your kid and perform better in his exams.