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Coping with exam stress positively

With the examinations fast approaching, stress levels are high among students. But why get stressed during exam time? That won’t help in any way because at the end of the day, you will answer the questions with what you have understood through the year. So instead, try to put those negative feelings aside and find positive and healthy ways to beat exam stress. NT KURIOCITY speaks to a few students to know how they prepare for exams, and manage and cope up exam stress with positive strategies.

Ramandeep Kaur |NT Kuriocity


With exams lurking around the corner, the stress, anxiety and pressure are very normal, but worrying about exams only burdens the mind; further making it difficult for students to focus on studies. Exam stress is just a minute problem which can be worked out by embracing a positive attitude, thus enabling students to deal with exams in a constructive way.

Everyone has their own pattern of studying. Some believe in last minute cramming. “I start from day one and make use of flow charts to remember the outline of my answers. I make my own acronyms whenever necessary. Solving previous year’s question papers also help. I explain the answers to the questions that I have learnt to my classmates. This helps me retain and revise the information I have studied; hence I can easily recall it during my examination,” says Lizzie Braganza, a student pursuing her TYBA in Economics at Parvatibai Chowgule College of Arts and Science.

How you study or how you make studying interesting is equally important. “To make the study material look more attractive, I make use of eight highlighter shades. I listen to music just before I start studying. This helps me boost my brain. One minute of music is just the right amount of dose,” Lizzie further added.

Lizzie experiences stress too before examination but all she does to do away with stress is closes her eyes, relaxes her body and meditates for some time. This helps Lizzie clear her thinking, she explained.

It is also important to have a healthy diet and drink plenty of water and ample of sleep while you prepare for your examinations. Take the right amount of breaks. No one can study continuously for long periods, it would just add up to the stress. So make sure that you do not take a long study break and end up not being prepared for the exams.

“Since I’m an English literature student, I read throughout the year. I ‘study’ the texts a month before my exams, making a few markings and mental notes along the way. By doing this, I just have to glance over whatever I have marked a day before the paper and I’m good to go,” says another TYBA student Rochelle Fernandes from St Xavier’s College, Mapusa.

She goes on to say: “To be honest, I don’t really stress about any paper. I think it’s mostly because I thrive on pressure. So it only makes me study harder and plus, why waste time panicking when I can use it to study a little more?  But if I’m really stressed, I just sleep it off and then, start all over.”

To avoid exam stress, students also need to manage their time efficiently and not wait for the last minute to study. Prioritise your syllabus based on the complexity, study the easy ones first and then go for the difficult ones. “Well, I divide my time equally for all the papers so that I get enough time to study. And making notes is a very good habit, always note down the important points as you go through your notes that might help you get a proper summary of the paper during revision; try and solve old question papers,” says another student doing Master of Science Information Technology at Parvatibai Chowgule College of Arts and Science.

While preparing for exams students should try and understand a particular topic rather than mugging up the whole thing because doing so is a bad way to study. Prepare cheat sheets which contains all the important points of all the topics which can help you revise and keep at least a week ideally for revision, also avoid all possible distractions, for instance, using mobile phones.

Gavin Dsouza, BA student, St Xavier’s College, Mapusa who looks at exams as something to be tackled and gotten over with says: “Prepare your notes, study them based on a prioritised time-table. Exercise may also help relieve stress. Although the best advice would be to study in your own manner following someone else’s study techniques could be more stressful than helpful.”

“Exams come and go and exams aren’t everything in life. Hence, I don’t stress much about exams. Reading a lot and understanding what you read is the key to doing well for exams. Always remember key points or sub topics and develop the art of elaborating. Always take breaks at regular intervals and also play some games or do some outdoor activity to freshen your mind. Lastly, believe that you can ace the exams,” says Elton Furtado, a fourth year BALLB student at V M Salgaocar College of Law, Miramar.

Everyone has different capabilities and memory power. Go through concept points, make notes (if preparations are well in advance) or take note of key points for short term studying. Highlight text, and answer questions from previous year’s papers or references. Stick to one study material and use references only to fill in gaps of for additional info or practice. Avoid using copied notes as you will answer well but learn nothing.

Ruben Fernandes, a Chartered Accountancy-Integrated Intermediate Professional Course student believes that right from scratch, self-study is the best means of studying and classroom atmosphere should be taken advantage of for doubts and explanation. He says: “Coping with exam stress also involves planning. If you know you needed to prepare in advance but have not, do not procrastinate. That time has passed so plan again. David Allen has a beautiful principle of GTD or Getting Things Done. Split the task into sub tasks.”

Ruben adds: “The Pomodoro method of splitting time is useful too. Rest assured, I take outdoor walks, and try not to rely on what others say regarding preparations, everyone handles differently. If stressed, talk to someone, listen to music, play a game – but talk! Let out!”

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