Dr Rajkumar Ranjan Singh
In today’s rapidly changing world, where students must compete in every aspect of their academic life, academic stress can be worrying for parents and students. Examination stress leads to the unpleasant psychological situations that occur due to the educational expectations from parents, teachers, peers and family members along with the pressure due to academic achievement and existing examination system. Exam stress can increase anxiety due to the pressure of exams that affects the student before, during and after the exam. This is an important issue that students deal with throughout their academic lives. Exam stress can have a significant impact on students’ mental health leading to anxiety, depression, and other emotional problems due to some anticipated frustration associated with academic failure or even an awareness of possibility of such failure.
There are various causes of stress in a student’s life such as too many assignments, competition with other students, failure, bad relationships, constant pressure to study, examination, future plans, etc. Specially, in exam time, there are few factors that can contribute to exam stress in students. They are as follows:
- i) Strain to perform well :
Some children due to understudies or family pressure might feel strain or tension while taking the pressure to perform well in examinations.
- ii) Fear to be failed :
There are a lot of students who worry about failing an exam, which can make them feel stressed and anxious. This dread can be particularly intense for understudies who battle with a specific subject or who have experienced issues with tests previously.
iii) Absence of readinesss :
Students who are not sufficiently equipped/prepared for an examination may experience tension and stressed out. This can be due to a lack of understanding of the material, a lack of study time, or other factors.
- iv) Time restraints :
Tests frequently have tight time imperatives, which can be unpleasant for understudies who are not used to working under tension.
In fact, students experience academic stress because of their expectations of success, the expectations of their parents and teachers. It is evident that parents’ expectations from their children put pressure to accomplish well in examinations. However, it is suggested that certain amount of examination stress can be considered to be operative and effective leading to attentiveness and cautious behaviour before the exams in children. But, keeping high expectations from children during examinations can be a basis for exam stress/pressure and poor performance.
It is generally recognized that parents play an important role in the cognitive, behavioural, emotional and social development of their children. In their role, parents provide children with socialization to cultural and societal norms and values, with the aim of preparing them to meet the needs of the communities as well as prepare them for future.
Parents also have an important role in guiding and managing positive or negative influence of academic aspirations on children. Parents can help their children in handling the exam pressure by recognizing some physical, social, behavioural and psychological signs of exam stress.
Recognizing the Signs of Exam Stress in Children
It’s likely that young people won’t feel comfortable to discuss exam pressure and stress, but parents can look for any signs of stress in their children and talk to them about it. Educational or academic pressure can sometimes be difficult to detect, especially in more mature children who may not feel the pressure or lack the ability to express their feelings. Here are some of the most common symptoms of stress that can be seen in children through physical (e.g., headache, grinding teeth, high blood pressure, indigestion, fatigue, insomnia), psychological (e.g., anxiety, irritability, defensiveness, anger, mood swings, depression helplessness, hopelessness) and behavioural symptoms (e.g., overeating of loss of appetite, procrastination, withdrawal/isolation, poor personal hygiene).
Role of Parents in Managing Examination Stress or Pressure in Children
If the child is struggling with exam stress, one of the most important things one can do as a parent is to be as understanding and supportive as possible. Make sure to communicate and remind them that they have more important things in their life and these exams are just one part of the bigger picture. Let them know that you will always be there for them and, while you will naturally want them to perform well, you won’t blame them if they don’t.
- Be aware of child’s behaviours and emotions before and during exams.
- Build mutual trust with your child.
- Communicate that parents have unconditional positive regards to their children.
- Encourage them to tell you if they feel overwhelmed.
- Inspire healthy and diverse relationships.
- Cheer physical activity, good nutrition, and rest.
- Remind your child of his or her ability to get through tough times, particularly with the love and support of family and friends.
- Assist your kid with choosing suitable co-curricular exercises.
- If your child is going to face a challenging paper or has already faced one, don’t forget to boost his or her self-assurance.
- Be a decent audience and assist your kid with positive considerations.
- Maintain a pleasant and stable home environment.
Dr Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, MoS for External Affairs and Education