5 tips to ward off exam stress and anxiety in kids for a healthy mind

Exam stress can be mentally debilitating, and children must learn how to deal with anxiety in a healthy way to become mentally strong.

how to deal with exam stress
Exam stress is not easy to deal with, but it's not impossible. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Vanshika Sharma Updated on: 11 September 2022, 14:58 pm IST
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An impending exam can put a lot of pressure on kids. Studying for it is not the only thing that plays on their little minds, but also the stress in anticipation of how they will perform and what their results will be. The effects of exam stress on children’s mental and physical health can be devastating at such a young age.

According to a recent nationwide mental health survey, 81 percent of school students surveyed perceive “studies, examinations, and results” to be a major source of anxiety. These problems get worse as students move up to more difficult subjects. The pressure to excel in life can be incredibly stressful.

As parents, people still find themselves expecting children to meet, if not exceed expectations. This stress often leads to anxiety and other mental health problems among kids, who are already having a tough time returning to schools after Covid-19.

anxiety related to exams
Children go through stress and anxiety. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Health Shots spoke to Dr Kamna Chibber, a senior clinical psychologist and the head of the department of mental and behavioral sciences at Fortis Healthcare, to find out ways to prevent exam stress in children.

Tips to deal with exam stress

Dr Chhibber shared some ways for kids to manage exam stress and anxiety.

1. Focus on the bigger picture

Looking at the overall approach instead of narrowly looking at what the results alone are, can help reduce stress in all scenarios.

Having a broad perspective helps you to emphasise on what is significant and then refocus your attention on the things that you have decided are your genuine priorities. For example, don’t get upset or disappointed if you didn’t do well in your examinations. Instead, use the experience to know the areas you need to improve. Focus on the wider picture by taking the time to learn from your mistakes rather than feel depressed about your outcomes. Strengthen your foundation and make your base stronger. Know that knowledge is what you are studying for, not grades.

2. Assess your mistakes

“Attempt to build an understanding of what changes are required in the manner of your preparation and responses to the question paper,” suggests Dr Chhibber.

And we can’t agree more! Knowing your mistakes, followed by taking corrective measures, are important and then correcting them is very important. Instead of working hard, try to work smart. Learning anything and everything is what you call hard work. This time, be clever about it. Plan everything out. Understand your question paper, go through it and start working accordingly. It will help you do smart work.

exam stress and mental health in kids
Maintaining mental health in kids is important. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Recognize your strengths

According to the expert, it’s important for you to determine your strengths and remind yourself to lean on them in order to further enhance your results.

For example, if you’re good at algebra in mathematics, make it your strong point. Don’t avoid practicing it just because you think you’re already good at it but practice it till you get perfect. You will feel much more confident by doing this.

4. Exams aren’t everything

“Remember that this is just one aspect of life and there is much more that you need to manage and work through,” says Dr Chhibber.

It’s important to remember that getting poor grades isn’t extremely serious. There will be many more opportunities in your life for you to demonstrate your abilities. So don’t be restrictive on building an idea of your sense of self just on the basis of the results you have obtained.

communication with children
Children need to communicate. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Communicate

It’s okay to feel exam stress, but a healthy way to deal with it is to communicate. “Look at speaking with adults and teachers to understand where you may need to focus your efforts at improvement,” says the expert.

You could speak to teachers and parents. Your teachher can be your BFF when it comes to trying to learn how to improve your grades. Ask them, learn from them and you’ll definitely get a solution to your problem.

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About the Author
Vanshika Sharma Vanshika Sharma

A budding journalist, I have a different perspective in life which is largely positive and vibrant. I like putting down my thoughts on different topics, especially on healthy lifestyle and mental well-being.

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