Examination anxiety and stress involved with exams

13 September 2016

The evidence obtained through years of experience in working with students from diverse backgrounds and age groups indicated the clear correlation between examination anxiety and stress involved with exams. In most cases, both anxiety and stress are considered to be synonymous, even though factually, one could lead to the other. Exam stress is common among almost every student, and is beneficial to a certain extent as it motivates the student to commit themselves to their studies and achieve good results. Regardless, an excess of stress is bound to adversely influence the child’s mental status and behavior patters.

Exams are not fondly thought of by anyone. However, they are crucial indicators about the child’s ability to comprehend knowledge passed down to them, their problem solving skills as well as their overall development. If early preparation is made a habit among students from an early age, the stress and anxiety associated with it can be greatly reduced.

Early preparation is a habit that should be adapted in the child through their home environment. The child should have a study area with no distractions or clutter; one that encourages learning. The child should also be given the skill of organizing the study notes and books with easy access and to develop a time table that both the parent and student can monitor. Last minute cramming should always be discouraged by parents to their children as it doesn’t help with long term memory retention while it also increases the affinity towards anxiety. Taking spaced out time slots for revision will help reduce this issue.

If the child is finding it difficult with any area, be cautious look out for warning signs and take the required action straight away. Be straightforward about what needs attention. As parents we should look to see how our children are responding to, and managing, their stress levels. If there are any notable changes in how they behave, make it a point to have a chat with them and ask them how you can help. This simple act will mean a lot to your child, as they will feel heard and supported.

Identify the child’s learning style to gain the best outcome of the effort he or she puts into their studies. Start summarizing the work done in class daily. Reviewing daily lessons is a successful way of retaining.

The stress levels parents develop due to their child’s exam could also contribute to higher stress levels in the child. It is recommended to go for a walk or indulge in any activity that reduces nervous tension and distracts the mind, if unnecessary stress is felt by the parents.

It is vital to make a conscious effort to remain calm and relaxed when talking with your child. Children easily sense stress in their parents, and they do not need this extra weight on them during exam times. The best way to help your child during exams is to provide him/her with a calm home environment. Try not to nag or make too many demands on your child. Arguments are counterproductive and will only add unnecessary pressure and distraction to the child.

Do not damage your relationship with your child by overreacting during revision time. Get help if you believe that it will help safeguard the bond you have with your child while ensuring that their exam preparation is done effectively.

It is also important to maintain the child’s physical efficiency at all times which includes regular nutritious meals, sleep, regular exercise, rest & relaxation. Leisure time or alone time are beneficial for handling exams anxiety because these activities maintain your child’s energy levels, help them to stay well and enhance their concentration

Help your child to be confident to face the exams without fear and anxiety and have realistic expectations. Be supportive and help alleviate their worries by talking to them.

Be positive, help them put the concept of exams into perspective and to understand the importance of them and face them with an optimistic attitude. They can always take an exam again. Help achieve their goals at their pace.

You can now consult Nilu Perera (Special Educational Needs Specialist) at Ninewells Care Mother & Baby Hospital

One step at a time

05 October 2013

Pretty as a picture, little Anisha* twirls around in her pink skirt, her pamper almost falling off at the back. She is lost in her own world, completely cut off from the rest of the kids sitting on the floor engaged in various activities. She smiles to herself and then glides across the room like a little ballerina dancing to notes only she can hear.

Read more: http://www.ft.lk/2013/10/05/one-step-at-a-time/