Monday, July 14, 2008

Exam Anxiety/Stress Management Guidelines

The Physical approach:

(A) Eating healthy:

· Balancing food choices over time counts.
· Breakfast provides the energy needed through an active morning.
· Children who skip breakfast may have trouble concentrating.
· Fast foods supply more fat, salt & calories than good nutrition.
· Fast foods in moderation won’t ruin a healthful diet, especially when consumed with green salads.
· Replace finger chips with an apple.
· Add roughage to your diet – Dalia, Corn etc. will help prevent stomach discomfort and you will feel lighter.
· The golden rule for food safety is to keep hot foods hot & cold foods cold.
· Parents should teach good habits by example.

(B) Good Sleep

· Insomnia (the inability to fall or stay asleep) can be caused by stress & anxiety of Exam.
· Disturbances of sleep wake cycle during exams.
· If sleep struggles continue, talk them over with your doctor.

(c) Physical activity

· Exercise: planned & structured subset of leisure time physical activity undertaken for improving or maintaining physical fitness.
· Physical fitness: includes cardio-respiratory fitness, muscle strength, body composition and flexibility.
· Sport: any choice of outdoor game for a brief period. For example badminton, squash, tennis, etc.

The Psychological approach:

Stress can lead to both anxiety & depression. However, some amount of anxiety is imperative for good performance. The students may experience the following-
· Increased disinterest in studies.
· Seeing more TV, sleeping more
· Irritable/ crying / cranky
· Nervous and irritable
· Feelings of frustration and aggression
· Preoccupied, absent minded
· Symptoms like headaches, fainting spells, vomiting
· Wanting to be alone
· Major changes in eating or sleeping habits
· Lack of attention and concentration
· Forgetfulness
· Inability to complete tasks or make study plans
· Staying out longer, stop communicating with their parents and have health problems.

The tips to handle examination anxiety/stress are-
· Make realistic study plans
· Assess priorities, assets and difficulties
· Follow a normalized routine atmosphere at home should be recommended.
· To take frequent breaks.
· Not to strip off TV or entertainment and outings.
· Feel comfortable about self.
· That imagining extreme consequences and worst situations is of no use and needs to be discouraged.
· It is helpful to make the student see what he can accomplish in the remaining time is not negligible.
· Constant encouragement and reassurance is essential from all significant members in the school and family.
· It is important that the student is clear about how to take the examination, how to tackle questions and how to manage time.
· Students tend to magnify failures and try to talk to them out of it. They should not demean themselves and should manage time properly.
· Advise them to contact the teachers or counselors if they feel low or anxious or disinterested in studies.