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Board exam terror? Worry not, help’s here

Helplines, Counsellors at schools & social outfits ready to listen & advise
Students appear for an ICSE exam at Sacred Heart Convent School in Jamshedpur last year
Students appear for an ICSE exam at Sacred Heart Convent School in Jamshedpur last year
Telegraph file picture

Antara Bose   |   Jamshedpur   |   Published 05.02.20, 06:41 PM

Emotional atyachar won’t help, but a word of understanding might work wonders.

As CISCE, CBSE and state board exams start, psychiatrists and counsellors in the steel city have started lending their ears to stressed-out students.

Mental health experts say that anxiety, fear of failure, the baggage of parental expectations and physical unease are the most common symptoms found in students appearing for board exams.

Students of ISC appeared for their first practical paper, chemistry, on Wednesday. Their theory papers begin from February 11 with accounts. ICSE students will write their exams from February 27 starting with English language. CBSE Class XII exams will begin from February 15 while the state board examinations conducted by the Jharkhand Academic Council will kick off from February 11.

While CBSE started its online counselling to address students’ anxiety from February 1, city organisations and schools too have decided to help students cope with exam stress.

Jeevan, a social outfit in Bistupur that has been working in the field of mental health, has sent helpline numbers 9297777499/500 to all schools through email and requested them to share the numbers with students if they need to vent out or de-stress. Students can also write to in case they don’t want to speak over phone.

“We have planned a workshop but more importantly we have requested parent and school groups to circulate our number so that a child gets immediate help. Also, students can mail us,” said Gurpreet Kaur Bhatia, deputy director of Jeevan.

Another counselling centre Muskaan on Wednesday floated two 24/7 helpline numbers 8092867918 and 8809328019. Shashi Bhushan Mishra, a senior official of Muskaan, said students with anxiety and stress could call them up. “Our experts are there, always,” Mishra said.

Sanjay Agarwal, head of the psychiatry department of Tata Main Hospital, said they had been organising sessions for emotional well-being of students. “But parents must ensure there’s no unnecessary stress at home during exam time. We’re also there to help students who may not be willing to share their fears with parents or teachers.”

Some schools have asked students to begin writing their papers after a “quiet, meditative time”.

Principal of Hill Top School Puneeta B. Chouhan said a little attention to basics made a big difference. “We ask students avoid last-minute preparations, reach the exam hall well ahead of time and stay quiet for about a couple of minutes before starting to write. It always helps. Also, sleep and eat well,” said the principal of the CICSE school.

Jamshedpur Public School, affiliated to the CBSE, will have a joint counselling session with parents and students when they distribute the admit cards this Saturday. Principal Namita Agarwal said that parents must realise putting unnecessary pressure on the child would only harm them. “We appeal to parents to give their children a good, positive environment so that they answer their exams to the best of their ability,” she said.

DBMS English School affiliated to the CISCE has counselled their students one-on-one and in groups. “No board exam is the end of the world. No matter how bright you are, exams must be put in perspective,” said principal Rajani Shekhar.

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