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Exam phobia - How to deal with Stress
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 Education is part of our core life. From the time you can walk, talk, sit and make some remote sense, your family would have started the usual discussions of your career and future. They would have made umpteen plans and start prepping you up for making those plans into a reality.

This expectation can definitely be overwhelming. Most of us start school by the age of 4, some even earlier. It means that you only have 3 good years without any stress or tension; because as soon as you get into a school the expectation of you to do something would keep on mounting up; and you would be required to show some definite result. Children have now become a high end and a long term investment – Parents put whatever they have to make a decent future for their kids and in about 20 odd years, they are expected to reap benefits.

Today from kindergarten to finishing your masters – Examinations are deciding your life. Knowing well enough that unless your do well in your studies, you cannot achieve anything in your career. Plus the competition is also mounting up – 6.6 % of students across the country scored more than 90% in their 12th boards. In Delhi itself 2,90,433 students scored above 90%  in 2014 XII boards which was a rise from 2,50,000 students in 2013. There was a 60% increase in 2014 of the students who scored above 95% in the capital over 2013. Years ago when quotes like ‘metric pass’ was used proudly. Coming in first division was considered rare and was highly revered; today the pass percentage itself is 82.66%; out of which majority of students score a first division.

 Children are now not only under pressure for board exams, but also the list of entrance examinations that follow post the boards. Like IIT JEE for engineering students, CPMT for pre-medical students etc and then post of graduation you have CAT, MAT and XAT for your various MBA colleges. Today the overall mounting up of pressure from all sides – Parents, teachers and yourself; exam stress has become a regular ordeal. Students are staying up all night before an exam – Little sleep and high tension, along with a mixture of inadequate food – Exam Phobia has become one of the biggest demons of a child’s life.  Children have started understanding the ground reality – Examinations make or break your life and for this very fact – They forget to breathe at times and take a break.  


Understanding Phobia and Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most common symptoms in every individual human being. The worry that something would go wrong is always there at the back of our head. Anxiety is caused with that thought and the possibility of that coming true. An examination is one of the major triggers of an Anxiety attack. Exam phobia is also termed as Test Anxiety. This is a psychological condition in which people experience extreme stress, anxiety and discomfort. This is cause by extreme worry, dread, tension etc.

In reality, the examination might not pose any treat and you would have well-prepared for your exams – But the worry of failing leads to a phobia of the examination. You could show symptoms like palpitation, headache, nausea, diarrhea etc. This phobia would have been developed over time and as you grow older and the examinations get tougher –  and so would your worries.


Having an exam phobia has nothing to do with unpreparedness – it just the possibility of failing that scares you. Because of this phobia, many students who might be doing extremely well during the course but during the exams are not faring so well. 

 How to Deal with Stress and Phobia

*        Leave the exam part out of the equation – Study because you like it and you find it interesting. Find reasons to like a subject. Don’t think about the exam part of it. Just read and learn and forget that you have an exam next morning

*        Drink a lot of water and fluids. Avoid heavy food and keep munching every now and then.

*        Take a break every 15-20 minutes for atleast 5 minutes. Go stretch yourself. Take a walk.

*        Ever few hours watch some TV, listen to music or play some game – Whatever can be your stress buster. You cannot overload your brain in one go – It need to process what you have read. For that you need to do something that does require too much of brain power; but something light. Don’t try watching a movie, watch something that you would have seen a million times like Friends or Tom and Jerry.

*        Don’t try to learn something new in the last minute. It will only give you an anxiety attack if you can’t understand it.

*        Stop telling yourself that you would fail. Keep on telling yourself that you have studied and you would do well.

*        One of the best ways to study is to divide your syllabus into quarters  - parts that you have studied extremely well, parts that you have studied well, parts that you need to revise and parts that you have no clue about.

*        Try doing some meditation and relaxation therapy

*        DO NOT give up on sleep. Sleep is important and it also helps you to process everything that you have studied.

*        Parents should also not put too much pressure on their children before exam. Try making them feel that it is normal day and a normal test. Give them space to sleep, eat and relax and not stand on their head and telling them how important coming first is.

*        Lastly, if you are really stressed up and your anxiety is getting worse – Talk to a counselor.


Examinations never stop. People usually make a big deal about board exams. But the truth is, every exam has an equal weightage – It gets you to next year. Many students who score extremely well in their boards and post getting into colleges they let go. This mostly happens because students need a little space to breathe and subconsciously they think that most of the work is done by clearing your boards and now is the time to have fun. That is the reason why – The pressure should not be too much and let the child study and enjoy equally.


Author Bio: Trisha is a professional writer and adviser on education and career. She is an ardent reader, a traveler and a passionate photographer. She wants to explore the world and write about whatever comes across her way.