The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Board the exam bus
- Test-time onset of tension

In the countdown to the exam season, the young have never been more restless.

Enough for the parents to press the panic button and approach psychologists, seeking suggestions to enable their wards overcome the problem.

“Guardians of examinees are calling our office almost every day, complaining that their wards are not being able to pay adequate attention to studies,” said Sramana Dasgupta, psychologist and coordinator, Society for Nature, Education and Health, a city-based NGO.

Madhyamik, the year’s first major examination, will start on Tuesday with around seven lakh students writing it across the state. Other major school-leaving examinations, including the ICSE, ISC and the CBSE for Classes 10 and 12, will commence in the first week of March. Higher Secondary 2007 is also scheduled to start next month.

“Most students suffer from stress before Madhyamik, because it is the first board exam they are taking,” said West Bengal Board of Secondary Education president Ujjwal Basu.

Aware of the stress factor, the board has provided guidelines to the affiliated schools and asked the teachers to convey to the students the dos and don’ts for remaining stress-free (see graphic).

Still, psychologists are being flooded with complaints from parents about stress distracting their wards from studies.

“We have seen a lot of students suffer from tremendous mental pressure before their board exams. There can be many reasons for their distraction… We ask the guardians not to scold their children without finding out the cause behind the distraction,” said Dasgupta.

According to psychologists working with examinees, many a time they have found that distraction is more common among students whose parents force them to excel in academics.

Hence, most of the counsellors are examining the guardians’ complaints to figure out whether attention deficit among students is an outcome of parental over expectation.

Organisations like Mon Foundation, engaged in projects to assess mental health of schoolchildren, have prepared guidelines to help examinees keep themselves anxiety-free before their board examinations. They also have a manual for parents, in which they suggest that children should not be forced to study for long hours.

“We have worked with students of over 100 schools in phases to help them deal with the pressure,” said Swati Mitra, psychologist with the NGO.

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