School board exams are a common source of stress, and anxiety for students and parents alike. The desire to do well academically, combined with the peer pressure, and teenage worries around self-esteem and success –all 3 put together create high-pressure scenarios for young minds. How does one cope with it?
Tips for students to manage stress :
- Prepare for your exams based on your level of understanding and confidence: If you believe some subjects need more work, allow yourself more time to prepare for them. Know what you can and cannot handle.
- Seek help from teachers, and guides: Ensure you’re getting the right kind of help from teachers, guides, and academic sources to clear your doubts, while you are in class, well-head of exams. This ensures you’re building confidence in raising questions but also you are learning while subjects are taught.
- Take notes and revisit content: While taking notes in class is needed, often leaving revisions to the very last minute can lead to a lot of unnecessary pressure. Set aside 1 hour per day or more to revise subjects. Allow yourself enough breaks to focus on seemingly tougher subjects
- Handling fear of subjects: Each of us worries about our ability to handle certain subjects. For some it might be languages, for others, it might be algebra, and for others yet it might be calculus. If you know which subject comes easily to you, while which ones seem tougher, ensure you give yourself enough time on subjects you also enjoy. That way you can applaud your ability to excel in subjects.
- Avoid comparing yourself to others: We are all unique in the way we consume information and retain it. Similarly, each of us enjoys different subjects. Avoid comparing your academic performance to your peers because no two people are the same. While examination marks are certainly important, they’re not a full representation of your skills as an individual.
Tips for parents:
- Provide a support system: Check in with your kid(s) how they’re feeling about the exams. Allow them to express their worries, anxiety, or fears without feeling the need to provide a solution. Only listen to what concerns them. A lot of times kids need someone to only listen to them.
- Know when to provide solutions: It’s possible that you have enrolled them in the best schools, programs, coaching classes, and more to prepare for their exams. Yet, they might struggle. You might want to ask questions about what further support they need.
- Set realistic goals: While every parent wants their child to excel, not every single child is academically gifted, or interested. Knowing your child’s strengths and weaknesses is an important part of supporting them and helping them focus on what helps them excel.
- Motivating them with your examples: Kids learn from our behaviours. If they see you demotivated about something that you are passionate about, they will learn to mimic those behaviours. Help them understand the value of trying to work hard, failure, and lessons from picking themselves up. Share examples of what has worked for you in the past to stay motivated.
- Make it about them: While parents feel a great sense of responsibility toward their kids’ success, it also places a strain on the kids. They feel burdened to perform with certain results. To avoid placing this strain on them, ask your child what excites them about the exam, and what their goals are. Help them attain goals they’re setting for themselves; you can always motivate them to do better, but keep in mind these goals are theirs to own.
Facing exams can be tough, but students should focus on preparing in a way that suits them, ask for help when needed, and believe in themselves rather than comparing themselves with others. Parents can ease the stress by creating a supportive atmosphere, understanding their kid’s strengths, and inspiring them with positive examples. Exams are an opportunity for self-discovery, and by working together, students and parents can foster resilience, persistence, and a well-rounded approach to academic success.