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Simple steps to deal with last-minute anxiety before exams

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Deal with the last-minute anxiety before the exam like a pro by following some simple steps, writes Pritha Banerjee

If you are appearing for your 10th board exams this year, the next two months would be the most stressful and crucial time for you. It is crucial because the10th board marks will be a decisive factor for most of your future endeavors. For the people who are appearing for 12th board examare already used to the exposure of greater competition. Nevertheless, few days before the exam are filled with anxiety to score well and be able to ace the exams with confidence.

Take your time


The preparation for 10th board exam starts by the end of 9th standard. Most of the schools have pre-boards exam to get the students used to the idea of writing the paper in front of an external examiner.  You will be well aware of it by now if you are a slow or fast learner. In case you are a slow learner, you have to avoid the last-minute cramming. Ananya Roy, a teacher, says, “The best way to approach an exam is to not leave anything for the last minute. Sometimes there are few subjects which need more attention. If you don’t give your brain enough time to process what you have studied, there is high chance of going blank during the examination.”

If you are weak in any subject, study till you understand a topic completely. “As soon as you understand the topic, make your own notes. It is very important that you write down what you studied,” says Rashmi, who scored 97.25% in 12th board exam. “Practice is very important for the students who are weak in any subject, especially Mathematics.  It is a high scoring subject only when you are clear with the concepts. The only trick to ace in that subject is to practice and beware of the silly mistakes. You can also make a chart of important formulae and tables and keep them handy for a glance whenever you want,” she adds.

It is better not to depend on your school to organise a pre-board exam after the syllabus is over. “Get the last 10 years question papers and practice it at home. You can also time yourself while you solve the questionnaires. If you are stuck, make sure you have it resolved by the next day at the maximum. Take help from teachers and seniors, as needed,” says another student who is currently preparing for his 12th board exam.

Plan your day

To live a stress free life, it is very important to organise your day no matter what you do. For a student who is appearing for the board exam the most important thing is planning. “Make your own time table and follow it no matter what. Organise your study table and keep a track of what you are learn each day. Make the study room comfortable and free of all the distractions like comics, video games, mobile phones,” claims Ananya.

Archana Sharma, psychologist, believes that everything starts with right parenting, says, “A child will not start following a time table until and unless they are used to an organised lifestyle. They learn everything from their parents. Thus, there should be a general time table for the family and even the parents should follow it with their children.”

As you have approximately two months left for your board exam, there is plenty of time for you to strategise a plan and what you want to achieve at the end. “While the parents should avoid setting unrealistic goals and overburden, the child should also realise his/her potential andoptimisetheir performance. Motivation from parents can help a lot with the stress that the students are dealing with right now,” avers Archana.

Group study

It might be a fact that while in a group we tend to study less and chat more. However, it has been proved to be more effective as long as you make sure to stay focused on the topic and the agreed amount of time. Ananya claims, “Towards the end of my syllabus I divide the class into small groups and each group has to present one topic in front of the whole class. It helps them to revise what they have studied the whole year. A lot of students have admitted that they understand a topic better when their friends are explaining it to them.”

It is very annoying to have little brothers and sisters around during exam. So, you can use them to your advantage, Rashmi says, “Try to explain an answer to a question to them. This will help you get it clear in your head and also the areas where you need to work more.”

Take a break

Remember that the board exams are like any other exams – testing us on concepts, and topics that we have studied all year round. So, rather than stressing yourself and studying all day, you would like to take regular breaks. “If you are preparing for marathon, you wouldn’t try to run 24 hours a day. It is the same for your board exam. Enjoy the sunshine and don’t let the exam pressure get to you,” says Ananya.

Sleeping keeps our brain cells fresh as it clears out harmful toxins.Getting regular sleep and exercise is very important for a child at this stage, Archana claims, “A student should at least get eight hours of sleep every day.”

You would like to use this break more productively than just watching TV or videos on the internet. Any kind of physical exercise will keep your brain active for you to focus better on your studies. It is also important to remember that you don’t exceed the break time and stick to the time table that you created at the beginning of the year.

Eat healthy food

What you eat will actually impact on your energy level, so you would like to keep away from junk food for a while. “Nutritious foods like fish, nuts, seeds, yogurt and blueberries have been proven to aid concentration and memory,” says DJ Nithya, nutritionist from M S Swaminathan Research Foundation.

You brain will work at its best when you have a balanced meal and stay hydrated. So, make sure you keep drinking plenty of water throughout the day. After all, you can only perform when you are mentally and physically healthy.