Does exam spell stress you? Have the changes triggered by the pandemic left you feeling pressured? Does the very thought of appearing for the board exams offline leave you anxious? Keep calm and reach out for help.
Schools in Kolkata are determined to help their students sail through the board exams. Edugraph spoke to three school heads, all of who had a three-prong advice: Work hard, manage your time well and if needed, seek a counsellor’s help to make things easier.
“Counselling is very important because students right now are in an environment akin to a pressure cooker,” said Koeli Dey, principal, Sushila Birla Girls' School.
Anjana Saha, principal of Mahadevi Birla World Academy, agreed. “Stress is a constant. When there is any evaluation, the stress spikes. Counselling should be a constant support to students and, during exams, it becomes doubly important.”
Dey shared that more students, as well as parents and faculty, have sought help from school counsellors in the past two years.
Recognising the need for counselling and addressing exam time stress, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Government of India have launched certain initiatives. CBSE offers individual counselling to students through its portal while the Pariksha Pe Charcha initiative attempts to dispel the fear of examinations.
Seema Sapru, principal, The Heritage School, Kolkata, urged students to have a positive view of the board exams this year. “Those appearing for their Boards this year should feel thankful that this year they had the time to prepare and are able to write the exam in person. The board exams and competitive exams were postponed to give students more time. This year students at least know that the exams will happen and they will be marked based on their performance in the exams,” Sapru said.
“Now is the time to work hard. Do not look back and repent. The effort is of great importance, there is no need to worry about the exam. Just focus on your effort,” Sapru said. “If you cannot deal with the situation, ask for help.”
Dey advised students to stay away from gadgets for a while. “Put your heads down and study. Do not get distracted by gadgets, and the way ahead will lead you to your desired destination,” Dey said.
Saha urged students to set realistic goals. “Have a study plan that suits you. Practice mock tests to gauge your learning outcome. Look for validation instead of negation,” she said.
Sutapa Guha Ray Dutta, psychologist and counsellor at Sushila Birla Girls’ School, shared a few tips that can help students.
- Examination is the evaluation of how disciplined a student is. Pre-exam planning is important.
- Divide 24 hours of the day into time slots, which include time for meals, sleep and study. Along with the schedule, draw up a to-do list that you can keep ticking off. This will help you understand how prepared you are and help reduce anxiety.
- Exams are serious business. Cut down on screen time and avoid social gatherings if you want to do well. Give yourself a few minutes of screen time as an incentive but don’t let dependence on screen eat into your study time.
- If you feel panicked, try some simple breathing exercises and mindful meditation. These exercises refresh the body and mind and increase concentration and retention. Regular practice of simple breathing exercises ahead of the exam can help you deal with stress.
- Go to a mental health professional, if necessary. He or she can help identify the stress factors and manage them ahead of the exams.