Last minute exam tensions tell on students’ nerves

March 1st, 2008 - 10:58 am ICT by admin  

By Ranjana Narayan
New Delhi, March 1 (IANS) The board examinations have begun and the tension gripping the tens of thousands of students taking it is all too palpable. Last minute losing of nerves, suddenly forgetting the lessons learnt, feeling overwhelmed by the mountain of information in the books are leaving students banging doors in stress, sobbing or just feeling helpless. The stress is more among those Class 10 students who began their Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) exams Saturday with IT, an optional paper.

It leaves them with just two days to cram for the social studies paper on Monday - which has five books in history, geography, political science, disaster management and economics, totalling a whopping 30 chapters.

Though most students have studied in advance for the social studies paper, nevertheless two days leaves students very little time to revise for this “epic course”, as the father of Class 10 student Shubajit Ghosh put it.

“The course is so vast, it doesn’t seem to end. The social studies course is like an epic,” said his father Indrajit Ghosh.

Madhu Gupta has been wringing her hands in despair, watching helplessly as her son banged and kicked doors to show his frustration after finding that he couldn’t recall large chunks from the political science and geography books.

“I wish I could help him, he has been studying for days and making notes. Now he screams that he has forgotten everything and is going to fail,” Madhu says of her son, Saurabh Gupta, a bright student.

In such cases, if parents calm down their wards by patting their backs and telling them that it doesn’t really matter how they fare, because they have studied hard and will surely recall the lessons during the exam could help calm down the student.

“Deep breathing every morning for five minutes is a good way to relax the brain. One could sit in the padmasana posture and practise it, it really helps,” says Bindu Prasad, senior counsellor with Sardar Patel Vidyalaya.

Ruchi Sharma feels like sobbing. The Class 10 student has studied hard during the preparatory holidays but finds she is not scoring well in the sample practise papers she has been attempting at home. She is losing her confidence to do well.

“It is very important to tell a child in such a situation that there is enough time, even if the exam is the next day, and help the student find out where he or she is going wrong in attempting the paper. Maybe, it is just silly mistakes, or reading the question wrong. Sitting and talking soothingly to the child really helps,” Ruchi Kapoor, a counsellor with the senior school in Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, told IANS.

One relaxing technique the students could practise is Progressive Muscular Relaxation (PMR), suggests Kapoor.

“It is quite popular and takes about 10 minutes, but after doing it the student is quite relaxed,” she said.

The student can sit down or lie down for practising PMR, focus on each part of the body, consciously making it relax. “One should start with the toes, tense the part for five seconds, feel the tension, and then let go, exhaling at the same time. One should move upwards, to the calves, thighs, back, stomach, chest, neck, arms, head. The tension just leaves the body,” Kapoor said.

Another technique is through Guided Imagery in which the parent or the counsellor has to participate.

The stressed child is told to imagine he or she is in a beautiful green garden, feel the cool green grass below their feet and think they are taking a walk. “This relaxation technique is based on creating an imagery to help in easing the stressed out person. It helps in promoting a sense of peace and tranquility during a stressful or difficult time,” said Kapoor.

However, when a student is feeling a sense of severe panic, then only a trained counsellor can help.

(Ranjana Narayan can be contacted at

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