Editorial Articles

volume-49,9 - 15 March, 2019


Coping Up With the Examination Stress

Shree Prakash Sharma

"When it is obvious that goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps."-Confucius

Speak about examination and often what a student spontaneously plunges into is the imbroglio of anxieties, stress and confusion.

Have you ever imagined why some students get so much stressed and disturbed when they are to appear in an examination? In fact, the examination stress is caused due to apprehension and lack of confidence of not performing as per the expectation in a certain examination. But it has its firm roots in the lack of preparation and absence of chalking out suitable planning well in time for the examination.

The fear of examination, generally called the 'examination phobia', not only adversely affects the psychological condition of an examinee but also his academic performance and future career. However, the psychoanalysts across the world now have started believing that stress, to some extent, is not always pernicious for students; rather it works as a motivation factor that keeps on preventing them from deviation and procrastination.

We need to learn following techniques to keep stress under control-


Consistent hard work has no substitute for accomplishing any task. Passing an examination with marks and results expected is not at all different from this truth. Who can deny that hard work works like a magic wand in transforming the status of a student? It bears the miraculous power of converting poor-achievers into highly brilliant students. Diligence hones the inherent talent and unharnessed potential of a student and enables him or her to become confident to face the of examination.

The great Chinese teacher and philosopher Confucius had once said, "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." Despite failures galore we must keep on studying sincerely and labouring hard for achieving what we have dreamt.

Thoroughly and intensively study the subjects of syllabi and practise more consistently to retain the lessons. This ends up calming and strengthening us to cope up with the pressures of examination, if any.


Examination stress is the most common phenomenon among students and in this situation it is good to speak about your problems to your parents. Better would it also be if students talk openly about the problems with someone whom they confide in and trust most. Sharing the problems this way helps a lot to reduce the level of stresses.

The sympathetic and caring attitude of the parents and close friends may prove to be very beneficial to ease the stress which is generally the by-products of unfounded fear and misconception.

The teachers too may play vital role in allaying the fears and phobia of examination. They may guide and counsel their students to boost their confidence to substantially dispel the fear or phobia.


It is said prevention is better than cure. Identifying the

reason of worries is the first step in the direction of taming the stress. Once the reason of worries and stress is known, only then can we overcome them fast.

For some students, lack of completion of syllabi of examination poses the great problem while for others lack of retention power of lessons learnt seems to be their Achilles' heel. Some students do suffer from the problem of understanding the topics and feel very helpless to face examination. Problems need to be fixed before solving them and preventing them from adversely affecting the mental condition of the students.

An honest assessment of one's strength and weakness is very much necessary. Do your best to improve the areas which you find problematic with the help from the professionals and experts. Faster you master these areas of lacunae the sooner will you be able to drive the fears out to finally become confident and courageous.


Chalking our suitable plans is a sine qua non of what you want to achieve in your life. A planned life is a well-spent and well-lived life. But majority of students fail to plan and that is why they do not have any knowledge of how much tasks they need to accomplish in the time to come. It also means mapping out and measuring the contours of responsibilities to be taken over a certain period.

Planning late is also not good for examination purpose because in this case students are left with less time to accomplish the tasks which lands them in trouble. A well-planned study schedule for various subjects to be covered during the academic year provides the much-required confidence to face the examination stress.

Students need to chalk out a comprehensive time plan at the outset of the session for all subjects. While planning for study, it is beneficial to emphasize more upon those subjects which are supposed to be difficult for them. Moreover, sticking to the planned study hours is also of prime importance. This habit helps utilize the available time in the best manner and for the best results.


The practice of regular meditation awakens the dormant energy and brings about tremendous transformation in the mind and body. It also brings about peace of mind and comforts the body. Inner energy gets released and strengthened. Anxiety level substantially falls down.

The goal of meditation is to focus and quieten one's mind. Most importantly, meditation helps develop immense power of intuition which also substantially helps reduce the stress-related pressure and problems. This personal metamorphosis in the form of sharper mind, enhanced focus and strengthened concentration helps the students to grasp the subject matters and to stay calm and cool.


Learning a lesson by rote does not help much in the long run because its retention period is very less. What we learn by rote evaporates very soon especially, when students need it most. And the failure to retrieve the learnt lessons at various levels of examination causes tension. However, some concepts and formulae are worth-parroting but it must not be done without keeping some clues and tips in mind.

It is always advantageous to understand the processes and clearly know the way a certain theory functions. Give time to understand the various concepts of the subjects. Learning by understanding is considered as the perfect way to master a subject.


Everyone dreams to achieve what he or she loves or needs most in life. But what one dreams to achieve must also be based upon the real assessment of one's capability and resources available for realizing it. Only when we do not set our goals realistically then worries arise, stress starts rearing its ugly head which leads to frustration and depression.

That is why the first task is to identify yourself, know who you are and honestly assess your own strengths and weaknesses. On the basis of these strength and weaknesses we need to set our goals for examination and which is sure to be accomplished and achieved. This eases worries and stress.


Have you ever realized that students get considerably stressed when they find the time available for examination preparation is relatively shorter than the tasks to be mastered over? In this situation, it becomes virtually difficult to go through every chapter of a particular subject. That is why students must categorize the syllabi into the chapters with very high and low weightage of marks. The chapters may also be classified on the parameter of theirs being simple, easily comprehensible and hard to master.

Besides, we also need to identify the easiest and the toughest subjects so that we could rationalize the time distribution accordingly for their preparation. The tougher subjects may be assigned relatively more time in comparison with easier ones.


The whole world seems to have been shattered in view of likely failure. Nothing seems to be enjoying and interesting worth living the life. But panic response does not pay. At this crossroads of life, students need to be very rational and must stay stoic and firm.

Panicking would even aggravate the situation. So whenever you find yourself in the whirlpool of non-performance-induced-worries-induced - frustration - and- stress control your emotion and behave patiently. Always believe that however dark the path may be there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.


Unlike success, failure makes a man cynic and pessimist. Due to this he starts doubting even himself and his own potential and everything seems to be working against him. This is a very serious problem which eats into the inherent capability of a student. Believing in your strength helps you stay motivated and ambitious. With positive bent of mind and unshakeable faith in your capability, you can accomplish any task however difficult it may be. Examination preparation is not a different art from this.

Students must have indomitable faith in their talent and keep on pushing hard for what they want to achieve. This is bound to bring about much-cherished success to the students and keep stresses at bay.


Practice makes a man perfect. By persistently working on a certain topics and subjects, student is bound to get mastery upon them with so much ease and so soon. Sometimes, methods of practicing differ subject to subject but one common practice, irrespective of all the subjects, is to learn the things by repeatedly writing them.

Repeated writing practices make learning easier. It also increases the writing capacity. Prepare notes of the topics of all the subjects, understand them well and write them again and again to ensure that they are completely mastered and fixed in the mind.

Solving the questions given in the exercises of all the chapters can also fill a student with amazing confidence and self-esteem and this may prevent students from being vulnerable to frustration and stresses.


Good health is the sine qua non of all achievements which the human beings aspire for and chase after. It  requires regular exercise, meditation and good nourishing diets.

What we eat substantially determines our physical and mental health condition. For this, one must avoid items of fast or junk food as they badly affect the digestion and immunity power of the body. Normally including green and leafy vegetables, fish and fruits in the diets goes on fulfilling the energy need of a student. This sort of balanced diet keeps the students away from variety of ailments and finally free from any mental pressure.


Friends and family work as cushion in the difficult times because they support and boost us more than anyone else. But unfortunately we blunder ignoring them while chasing our goal and hankering after dreams. And that is why we are left with none to take care of ourselves. It is a very dangerous condition.

Psychologists across the world have now established that talking and sharing the problems, whether academic or personal, with the friends and family members releases the much-unwanted tension and pressures. However, one must decide very judiciously how much time a student must spend with friends lest study schedule should get disturbed.


A balanced and planned examination preparation works as an antidote to the examination stress. Following are some time-tested tips for the better preparation of the examination which, if religiously and determinedly adhered to, can substantially help decrease the stress level -

  • They say that if you fail to plan then it means you plan to fail. Hence planning to achieve your target is very essential. Pre-planning and strictly following it is what we may call the gateway to success.
  • Be familiar with entire material and syllabi of the course.
  • Prepare notes, summarize and highlight important points so that they become more easy to use when needed most.
  • Focus on understanding the material. Cramming wouldn't prove more beneficial in the long run.
  • Browse through the chapters to get their central ideas. Read a paragraph, fold the book, close your eyes and ask yourself what you have learnt from the reading. This process would help you to concentrate, learn and retain better while you go through a certain chapter.
  • One can discuss the topics or the lessons with his friends and share the knowledge.
  • Visualize what one has read. Visualizing is making the picture of ideas in one's mind. It helps get the subject matter fixed permanently in the mind.
  • While sitting for the study, try not to let your mind wander. Try to focus on your study with hundred percent concentration.
  • Everyone has his or her own way of revising or studying routine. Find out which one suits you the best - morning or late at night, without music or with music. Do not try to blindly follow the routine of others. This would only discourage you and dampen your enthusiasm.
  • Always plan well in advance to prepare for the examination.
  • Have a realistic goal. Your goal must be based upon self-assessment of your capabilities, resources and interest. Do not fix your target having been influenced by the pressure from parents, teachers or peers.
  • Include breaks or intervals between your study hours. Doing this will keep you recharging for longer hours of study.
  • Do not feel shy to ask help from the teacher, tutor, parents or the people around you whom you trust most.
  • Take break to talk or have fun with your friends or do the works that you enjoy most. This would favourably condition your mood for the longer and focused study period.
  • Avoid watching television. It wastes time more than anything else. If watching television is so essential, you must fix time for it and religiously stick to it.
  • Stay confident and do never underestimate yourself. For this avoid the company of the negative-thinking- people.

And what about the day of the examination?

The day of examination is a very big day and for some also the day of confusion, worries and fear. So, first you must be confident and courageous to dispel the fears of examination.

On the day of examination a student must keep in his or mind the following essential things -

-              Start early for the venue of examination lest you should get delayed due to traffic jam or reasons beyond your control.

-              Carry the admit card or hall tickets and other writing paraphernalia, extra pens of very high quality, a scale, pencils with a very good sharpener and an eraser with yourself.

-              Read the instructions of the question paper carefully.

-              Get help from your invigilators to correctly fill the entries on the answer books. Do not make any incorrect entries on the front page of answer sheets. Even if you have committed any mistake fear not, request your invigilator and he or she will do the needful to correct it.

-              Go through the questions very carefully before answering them.

-              Leave the questions which you find very difficult and come to them later when the time permits.

-              First answer those questions the answers of which you know the best. However, writing the answers in sequence is considered as the best practice. But it is not a rule and you can choose answering the question as per your choice.

-              Keep a few minutes in reserve to revise your answers at the last moment.

-              Mention the question numbers very legibly and encircle them on the answer sheets.

-              Keep gap between the answers of the questions. You must avoid overlapping your answers.

-              Draw a line at the end of an answer before you start answering another question.

-              Do not repeat nor spread the answers of the same questions on various pages of your answer book. Examiners are smart and intelligent and this would irritate them.

Last but not the least

Examination stress - it is merely a state of mind, fight it bravely

The great Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama once had said, "Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck." It has a great philosophy of life. It is so solacing and inspiring for the students who fall vulnerable to vortex of worries and stresses after having failed to get the expected results. Life does not cease to exist and all paths of career do not get blocked if you fail to achieve the much-dreamed marks in the examination. Life is the greatest gift offered by the Almighty God and we can make it worth living any time as per our choice.

The psychoanalysts say that examination stress is just a state of mind. With low self-esteem and shattered self-confidence, the examination stress goes on mounting with the speed never seen before. So, mould the mind and bring about change in the life style and philosophies of life - you would never be under stresses, worries would never haunt you and pressure would not ever trouble you.

(The author teaches at Jawahar Navodya Vidyalaya, e-mail: spsharma.rishu@gmail. com)

Views expressed are personal.

(Images Courtesy : Google)