Niharika Solanki, 18, had a few last words for her parents and the world before ending her life. The teenager, who was preparing for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) in Rajasthan’s Kota, appeared to have a suicide note: “I am a loser. The worst girl… this is the last option.” According to the report, the National Crime Records Bureau 2022 annual report released in December last year found that students constituted 7.6 percent of the total suicides. Experts say it’s important for parents to make sure they don’t put pressure on their children, but that’s easier said than done. In a country where employment can be a struggle and everyone rushes for a better life, a certain amount of stress seems inevitable. Dr Vidur Arya, Associate Consultant – Psychiatry, Metro Hospital, Faridabad shares some practical tips for competitive exam candidates and their parents.
Managing Exam Stress: Dos and Don’ts for Students
From March, the competitive examination starts from the school level itself. Whether it’s Boards or the upcoming JEE and other major exams that can determine your career path, it’s exam time for students and parents, quite literally. There can be no substitute for hard work and while preparation and preparation are key, you also need to realize that perfectionism is not possible and avoid comparing yourself to others. Dr. Vidur Arya shares tips for students – what they should and shouldn’t do
Things to do for students
, Time Management: Plan your study time effectively and set realistic goals.
• Organization: Keep your study materials well organized for easy access.
• Reward yourself: Celebrate small victories during your study sessions.
Prepare: Study the material thoroughly beforehand.
• Practicing: Attend mock tests regularly to build confidence.
Break: Take short breaks during study sessions to avoid burnout.
• Healthy lifestyle: Maintain a balanced diet, exercise and get enough sleep.
• Positive mindset: Focus on your strengths and past successes.
Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness techniques to stay present and focused.
• Support System: Get help from friends, family or teachers if needed.
Not for students
• Isolate yourself: Avoid complete isolation; Reach out to friends or family for support.
• Negative Comparison: Avoid comparing your progress negatively with others. Everyone has a different pace; Don’t compare yourself to others.
• Goals of perfectionism: Accept that perfection is unreal; Focus on doing your best.
• Last minute changes: Avoid making significant changes to your study routine right before an exam.
• Skipping breaks: Don’t skip breaks; Taking short breaks can increase productivity and reduce stress.
• Delay: Avoid last-minute cramming; Plan your study schedule.
• Overload: Don’t overwhelm yourself with too much information.
• Negative thinking: Challenge negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.
• Caffeine overload: Limit caffeine intake to prevent increased anxiety.
How parents can help kids prepare for competitive and board exams
Be it board exams or other competitive exams, when children take exams, parents also think about their exam time in India. Dr. Arya says it’s important to be supportive and set unrealistic goals for their children and not put pressure on them. Dr. Arya lists the following dos and don’ts for parents.
Things to do for parents
• Open Communication: Encourage your child to express their feelings and concerns about the test.
• Providing assistance: Offer emotional support and reassurance that you believe in their abilities.
• Create a positive environment: Create a calm and positive atmosphere at home during the exam period.
• Assistance in planning: Help your child create a study schedule and set realistic goals.
• Healthy lifestyle: Make sure they maintain a balanced diet, get enough sleep and engage in physical activity.
• Celebrate efforts: Praise your child for his efforts rather than just focusing on grades.
• Create a quiet space: Provide a quiet and comfortable study space for better concentration.
• Prizes offered: Consider small incentives or rewards for reaching study milestones.
• Celebrate completion: Celebrate the end of the exam regardless of the result to reduce post-exam stress.
Don’ts for parents:
• Stress and Criticism: Avoid putting too much pressure on your child and refrain from constant criticism.
• Comparison: Do not compare your child’s performance with other children.
• Additional involvement: Give your child space to study; Avoid micromanaging or doing their work for them.
• Negative talk: Avoid negative language or fear-mongering about the exam.
• Ignoring anxiety: Don’t dismiss your child’s concerns; Address them and offer constructive solutions.
• Setting unrealistic expectations: Avoid setting unrealistic expectations; Recognition and appreciation of individual efforts.
• More emphasis on results: Avoid overemphasizing grades as the sole measure of success.
• Disrupting study time: Avoid unnecessary interruptions during their study sessions.
, Late night talk: Avoid discussing exams or academic worries late at night for better sleep.
• Ignore the signs of stress: Don’t ignore the signs of excess stress; Be attentive to your child’s well-being and seek professional help if necessary.