Stress Management During Exams

Stress Management During Exams
Dr. Alka Kalra, Educational Psychologist Eduscan Institute, Dubai

As exam season nears, a wave of anxiety spreads through not only students but parents and teachers as well. It is extremely necessary to manage this stress correctly as it can affect students adversely. Dr. Alka Kalra, a renowned CDA Licensed Educational-Psychologist shares a few tips for students, parents and teachers alike on how to manage stress during the exams.

For Students:

Analyze the situation and be realistic.

Face your fears!
Doing this simple exercise can help you overcome your obstacles. Take a piece of paper and write down all the causes of your anxiety. Next to each identified problem, write down the ways you think that are possible solutions. Then, take a break from your preparations to discuss your fears and concerns with your parents or your teachers.

It only takes 15 minutes a day to do this exercise. Focus on your deep breathing coming from your diaphragm and relax.
Words of affirmation:
With more realistic thoughts such as: “Even if I am afraid, I will do everything I can to overcome any obstacle to achieve my goals”.
Spend at least 30 minutes exercise regularly.

Focus is the most essential factor in what and how to process what is being learned.
Meditation helps to keep your brain at the center. It enhances your focus, keeps you calm, and helps you to be in the right state of mind to concentrate on your studies. So, just breathe in, breathe out and make an effort to take the mind to a calmer state before you proceed to study. It is helpful to our holistic wellness.

For Parents:

Be calm.
As parents, your emotional state and approach to your child have a significant effect on their attitude towards learning, dealing with their exams and accepting the results. The following are a few things to keep in mind to help your children be calm and set the right expectation in the exams.

Say words of encouragement
As your child faces enough pressure from school and peers, along with their anxieties regarding performance, strive to provide a supportive atmosphere at home. Appreciate and encourage your child’s efforts in wanting to excel in school. The smallest efforts and achievement recognized by their parents is a huge factor in helping them set and achieve their goals.

Talk to them about their feelings
All children experience different levels of anxiety before exams. Where this anxiety stems from, however, may be different for each child. Sit and talk to your child about his / her feelings and expectations. This can be done in a casual and comfortable manner and atmosphere. Make them feel and assure them that they are heard, understood and have your full support.

For Teachers:

Assess students for coping skills and screen for vulnerable students.
Make an effort to observe and screen your students on tendencies on getting stuck and a decrease in performance due to anxiety during the examination period. Find out who among your students are prone to last-minute revisions, committing repetitive mistakes and change of behavior.

Impart study skills and habits.
Revise and rehearse effective study skills. Help your students learn to organize their time and material. Introduce a calendar of activities and a checklist according to the importance of topics and schedule. This will help them to become realistic in setting and meeting their goals and deadlines.

Provide Life skills training
Encourage students to maintain healthy habits and routines during the preparation and examination period. Emphasize the importance of leisure time, regular breaks, a good diet, adequate sleep and exercise in maintaining emotionally healthy, stable and keeping the right mindset and approach to examinations.

About the Author
Dr. Alka Kalra is a renowned psychologist and a Professional Counsellor, who is known as a crusader for children who are misperceived as underachievers. With her passion for children who have hidden learning difficulties, Dr. Alka wanted them to never undermine themselves and realized that they have unique skills and strengths. To work with these children, she established Eduscan in 1995. Within two decades in the UAE, Dr. Alka has changed the lives of numerous children who struggled at school due to their low performance. They are now in different parts of the works with successful careers. She also believes in training teachers as they touch many lives. Community Development Authority (Dubai) certified psychologist Dr. Alka is known for the assessment of personality, aptitude, intelligence, and hidden learning difficulties. Dr. Alka has had the honor of receiving the university gold medal in Masters of Psychology and has a second Masters in Education as well. She has earned her Ph.D. and her Post-Doctoral Research from the University of Pittsburgh, USA. To know more about her work, follow her on her Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, or visit her website: