Exam Pressures And 5 Quick Steps To Succeed

7 minutes

IN BRIEF: This post is dedicated to those students among us who have to deal with the pressures of exam preparations. Find some useful tips to make it a tad easier to deal with.

When Board exams are around the corner, students and parents go through exam pressures. There is a rise in stress-related cases such as — insomnia, anger, abusive behaviour and violence due to the pressure to do well. It comes from parents, and sometimes, from the students themselves.

There is an ongoing pressure to perform better and deliver extraordinary results. And, as they say in showbiz, you are as good as your last success. The mantra is to achieve and score well, exceptionally well. People function more like performers rather than human beings.

Exam Tension or Anxiety are very common with almost all students. Sometimes students fail to realise that they are experiencing exam stress. Ms A, who took counselling to get over her tension expresses, I used to feel completely drained out and go completely blank. Everyone used to say take it easy, you worry a lot. But I was not doing it purposely.

Mr Y used to get stressed out as before in his exam, he had scored less, and he fears the same will happen again. Before the exams he experiences heaviness in head, palpitations and sweating.

The causes of exam anxiety can be different. The fear of failure can be so severe that the best students get affected. If I score well I am Good, else I am Doomed is the attitude.

The student’s expectation from within, ineffective study techniques can also cause a lot of anxiety. Compounded with this is the Parental expectations, expectations from the school. This is irrespective of the age or gender. But hold on. EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING.

It is possible to recognise exam fear or tension and curb it rather than it having a debilitating effect on the person. Stress is very common and to some extent is HEALTHY. Usually when exams approach or when we have to face an important situation it motivates us.

Problem arises when the level and intensity goes beyond a limit wherein it starts affecting our performance and daily routine. It is a good habit to track oneself:

The Alarm stage: You readily accept the challenges with interest and enthusiasm. Each day is a new day and you look forward to it. Most of the time you are on the go and very alert.

The Resistance stage: You constantly experience the feeling of ‘I have to do’ instead of ‘I want to do’. You could be tired, mentally and physically, lethargic, irritable, prone to outbursts of anger, suffer from acidity and joint pains in the legs. You may either fall asleep instantly, have difficulty falling asleep or experience early morning awakenings.

The Exhaustion stage: You are not able to cope. There is a breakdown of physical and mental faculties. Signs of stress. You need to look for signs in all three dimensions — Emotional, Physical and Behavioural. If you experience any of these, it is time to put the breaks on.

Chase Negative Thoughts Away

Because they serve no positive purpose. Make a list of thoughts that disturb you in your studies. Some of the thoughts like ‘I CAN NEVER DO IT‘ can be changed to ‘I WILL TRY TO DO IT’ or to ‘LET ME TRY’. Make 4 columns in your book:

  • In the first column write down Study Thoughts that disturb you.
  • In the Second column, write down the emotions that arise because such thoughts.
  • In the third column, try to change the thoughts by using phrases such as ‘LET ME SEE WHAT I CAN DO’ or any other positive thoughts.
  • In the fourth column, jot down the corresponding changes in emotion.

This will be very useful in dealing with disappointment, anger, guilt, coping with failures.

Work At Strengthening Your Emotional Resilience

so you can deal with change better. COGNITIVE THERAPY, awareness of thoughts, converting irrational thoughts to rational helps to decrease stress. For example, ‘I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO GIVE EXAMS WELL’ this is irrational. Rational thought would be, ALTHOUGH IN SOME EXAMS I HAVE FARED OK BUT I WILL TRY TO DO MY BEST THIS TIME. this helps to program mind in a different way and gain confidence. Performance is equated with self If I score well I am GOOD or else BAD This creates undue pressure.

Be Adaptable And Flexible In Your Thoughts And Attitude

so that you can make use of all resources at hand. Including your sense of humour to bail you out of difficult situations.

Do Not Dwell On Previous Disappointments

The road ahead is the way to go.

Active Outdoor Activities

which are missing from Indian scene. Either there are study classes or children are on the computer. The sedentary lifestyle leads to restlessness due to accumulation of energy hormones. Clay modelling painting, physical activities help to release FEEL GOOD hormones.

Sharing With Friends

or group study is important in developing to ask help from others and team skills.


in family is nil or very less, giving words to feelings, asking if the child is too quiet or silent, or has suddenly lost interest in studies or friends will help to get a clear picture Communication is very important and at least one meal in a day together improves bonding In family.


in sand is a good way to release excess energy or negative emotions.


from Bright students are high which in turn leads to TENSION AND ALSO GUILT, IF THEY ARE NOT ABLE TO DO WELL LOWERING MOTIVATION.

Try To Relax

by listening to music, cultivate hobbies, walking or any other form of exercise will help.

Mind Relaxation

by deep breathing and visualising yourself doing your studies well. You can visualise that you deal with difficult portions/questions well. These will help to program your mind and reduce exam related tension, helps to face exams, confidently and achieve success.


  • Speed Reading, practice this by pointing the pencil along the words as you read. This will help you read quicker. Our brains can process speed reading, so you need not worry about stressing your brain out.
  • Make notes, marks, and underline important passages/phrases when you understand or when you fail to understand. This will help you organise your learning and methodically revise your chapters.
  • Assign some minutes to re-read the points marked with CROSS and try to solve the difficult parts.
  • Re-read the underlined points. This helps to remember them well.
  • Make a flow chart or a mind map of the matter. For mind map, write the topic of matter in the centre and connect lines from it to main points. Separate main points can be shown with different colours and using symbols, pictures or drawings to represent the ideas. This can be kept in files and make revising easy. Here is a fantastic site to make MIND MAPS really easy.Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 12.02.49 pm

Above All There is no substitute for Hard Work and Efforts.

Malini Shah

Ms. Malini Shah is a special friend at YourDOST. She is a practicing Counselor/ Behavioral Trainer and EAP [ Employee Assistance Program ] professional. She has Co Founded Aastha Chrysalis Center - Transformation through Faith in Mumbai, India. Her functional experience is in Counseling and Therapies [Cognitive and Gestalt, Play and Art Therapy, Guided Visualization], Parenting ,Career Testing and Guidance, Life Skills Development Program for Students, Psychological Testing, Learning & Development, Coaching, HR –Recruitment & Selection and Management Training ,Psychometric Testing, Emotional Issue, Trauma and Grief Counseling, Exit Interviews.