Axe the Anxiety

It’s that time of the year when the there is palpable tension in the air and chills run down the students’ spines. Gauri Rane speaks to experts on what should be done to curb the exam fear.

Updated: Mar 03, 2014, 19:35 PM IST

It’s that time of the year when the there is palpable tension in the air and chills run down the students’ spines. Gauri Rane speaks to experts on what should be done to curb the exam fear.

Exam time puts everyone in a tizzy. Apart from sweaty palms and palpitation, students find themselves battling anxiety induced medical conditions as well. Sonali Badkar, mother of a teenager, who is appearing for class X exam this year says, her daughter, like her colleagues, is suffering from the “exam fever.” While Badkar is trying her level best to calm her daughter down, experts say that no matter how hard you may try; exams are rarely going to be a stress-free event. Here’s what experts suggest one should do to help students tackle these exam fears.

MARK IT—Kirti Bakshi, counselling specialist

- Refrain from “studying anything new as last minute studying can lead to confusion.

- For better retention, use highlighter to mark important points.

- Revise from quick revision books than from textbooks.

- Family should desist from coaxing the child to study, or comparing him/ her with other examinees.

- Each child has a way of learning and one should understand and respect that.

- Teachers need to give up the “I told you so attitude.”

- Children may have last minute doubts and teachers should help them; sometimes last minute training may also be retained well.

MEMO-RISE—Geet Oberoi, special educator
- Improve the psychological environment at home and it will enhance academic performance.

- For memory enhancement, use the checklists of helpful mnemonics: M – Model the strategy and explain, I – Inform students when and how to use it, R – Remind students to use it, R – Repeat the strategy for practice, O – Outline why the strategy is useful, R – Reassess the students’ performance when using the strategy, S – Stress the transfer of the strategy to other tasks.

- Mental energy can be improved by taking frequent short breaks between activities that place intense demand on alertness.

- Keep children active and cognitively engaged by non-disruptive use of physical activity (squeeze a tennis ball, roll clay in their hands, stretch at the desks, tap pencils on their thigh / arm).

- A consistent bedtime routine can help maintain alertness during the day.

- Avoid visits of guests at home during exam time.
Breathing and physical exercise, and soft music playing in the background will boost the child’s learning capacity.

EAT RIGHT and GET FIT— Nawaz Modi Singhania, fitness and wellness expert

- Eat smart during exams. Eating right will make you bright. A good diet will provide your brain with the nutritional support that it needs in order to perform at the highest level. Here are some foods that support brain health:

1. Nuts & seeds- Omega - 3 fatty oils found in flaxseed and walnuts are important for brain health.

2. Berries and fruits- Increase mental agility and focus.

3. Whole grains- Is the brain’s best source of energy over an extended period of time and improves blood flow to the brain.

- Do cardio exercises that aren’t just important for a healthy body but also for a healthy mind. Cardio exercise increases blood flow, which in turn, ensures a greater delivery of oxygen and glucose to the brain needed for mental alertness.

- Adequate sleep is another important factor.

Back on the memory track

Focus and pay attention: It only takes eight seconds to completely focus on something and have it transfer effectively from short term to long term memory.

Utilize your surroundings. Use little tricks to help you remember.
Use visualization and association. Form pictures in your mind to help you remember, associate them with something personal. You are more apt to remember something that is personal to you than just random thoughts.

Seek help: If you are anxious and something is bothering you, talk to someone who can help you.

Food for thought

Top brain foods

- Water

- Omega 3 (fish, walnuts flax sees)

- Spinach

- Blueberries

- Pumpkin seeds

- Apples

Food to avoid

- Sugar

- Excessive salt

- Artificial sweetners