How to reduce exam stress? One of the most asked questions by students appearing for the board exams (Class 10 and 12).\u00a0 Yes, you read it right! Along with the exam tips and study tips, students ask for tips on how to reduce exam stress. They search for different ways to deal with exam anxiety and cope up with it. Did you know that every year, more than 1 crore students appear for class 10th and 12th board exams? While some students feel confident about the exams, some of them feel anxious and stressed. For those who feel less confident, stressed, and anxious before the exams, it is okay to feel that way. It is a big phase of your life, feeling nervous before the board exam is natural. It happens with the majority of students.\u00a0 So, if you are one of those students\u2019 who is going through some major exam stress, all you need is proper guidance and support. You can talk to your parents, friends, relatives, or school alumni and ask for their advice. Being in the education field and dealing with lakhs of students every year, Univariety understands the phase that students go through during the board exam season. Therefore, we spoke to some experienced counsellors across India and abroad to list down some tips and tricks on how to reduce exam stress. Let\u2019s dive into this article and follow those tips to eliminate the risk of burnout with exam stress. Some Signs that You are Stressed \u201cHelp will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask.\u201d \u2013 Albus Dumbledore Our favourite movie \u2018Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets\u2019 also teaches us that help is only given to those who ask for it.\u00a0 This means no one will understand your problems and the issues you\u2019re facing until you share them with somebody. But the main question is how would you understand that you need help?\u00a0 How would you realize that something\u2019s wrong or missing or bothering you?\u00a0 How would you know that you are stressed or anxious about the exams? Here\u2019s the answer. These are some signs of stress and anxiety: \tFeeling confused and lost \tUnable to make decisions quickly \tLack of motivation \tFinding it difficult to sleep \tFrequent headaches \tUpset stomach or feeling sick \tFidgeting, nail-biting, teeth grinding, etc Reasons Why You are Feeling Stressed If you feel one or more of the above-mentioned symptoms, maybe you\u2019re thinking too much and taking too much pressure on yourself. There could be some other reasons also like: \tWorrying about failure \tLack of preparation \tLack of will to perform well in exams \tFinding it hard to study \tFamily or peer pressure \tUnable to handle competing pressures and more Know-How to Reduce Exam Stress: Exams Tips They say every problem has a solution, just like how every lock is made with a key. All you need to do is find that key. If you feel anxious or stressed while studying or preparing for the exams, some activities can help you relieve stress. Tips on how to reduce exam stress and make study fun and interesting: 1. Keep your Study Place Neat & Clean:\u00a0 You must have heard your mom say, keep your desk clean because \u2018a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind\u2019. Your mom is right as always. Our mind gets too distracted when we see other stuff on the table we\u2019re studying. Clutter can create a lack of concentration. It overloads the brain and impairs the ability to think and leads to stress. That\u2019s why keeping the study table clean is important. Follow these points to be organized: \tMove the unnecessary stuff like pictures, snacks, etc out of your sight, \tUse drawers and store the unnecessary items there, \tOrganize your desk with important items only, \tOnce you\u2019re done for the day, take 5 minutes and clean your desk for the next day. 2. Improve your Exam Time Management: It is said, students who know the time management techniques feel less anxious.\u00a0 The right time management method helps in avoiding feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and makes you feel more energized & focused. It includes proper rest, enough sleep, and sufficient time to complete your assignments also. You should: \tTake short breaks during the study hours, it makes you more productive. \tTry to complete the assignments in advance so that you have time to re-check them. \tStart blocking out dates and times for particular assignments on the calendar. Treat it as a fixed appointment. A Bonus Tip: If you don\u2019t want to lose any opportunity to learn and want to stand out in the crowd, utilizing your summer vacations is one of the best ways.\u00a0 3. Read Something Interesting to Refresh your Mind: It\u2019s proven that reading something interesting reduces stress by up to 60%. It benefits physical and mental health by slowing down the heartbeat and relieving muscle tension. When you feel it\u2019s time to take a break from the syllabus, pick up an interesting book and read it for 20-30 minutes to continue your studies with more energy. 4. Cut Out Caffeine: We know, cutting down on caffeine is next to impossible for some folks. It\u2019s hard to stay awake without our best friend \u2018coffee\u2019 and memorize that 300-page textbook.\u00a0 Did you know? Caffeine is a drug, and like any other drug, it can have harmful effects when ingested in high amounts. Caffeine is a stimulant and increases your stress level despite decreasing it. Consume less caffeine to increase your concentration and relax your mind. 5. Reduce your Sugar Intake: Did you know that sugar weakens your ability to deal with stress and that\u2019s why anxiety loves sugar? When you are stressed your body releases more cortisol, a hormone that manages stress and blood sugar level. So, if you consume more sugar, the chances of feeling stressed may increase. Your body sets the blood sugar clock based on your breakfast. So, \tNever skip breakfast. \tTry to avoid eating sugar in the morning. \tEat eggs, peanut butter, oats, or nuts for breakfast. 6. Take a Break from Social Media: The Internet was first invented for military purposes and then expanded to the means of communication among people. Now it is used for multiple purposes apart from just being a path to conversate. But advantages come at a cost. Here, the cost is the lack of concentration and focus. Checking Instagram and Facebook feed is the first thing that the majority of people do nowadays. However, spending too much time on social media causes distraction and you\u2019ll not be able to study properly. The blink of Instagram notifications can divert your focus. Put your phone on airplane mode, or switch it off while studying. You can also try out some fun apps like Forest, Moment, Offtime, etc designed to help students ignore using social media and focus on studies. 7. Get enough sleep: Stress and sleep are closely linked. Stress adversely lowers sleep quality and duration, while insufficient sleep can cause stress. It can even lead to sleep deprivation or sleep disorders.\u00a0 Taking proper sleep and rest refreshes the brain and helps to be more focused. Doctors also recommend teenagers to take at least 8-10 hours of sleep within 24 hours. Practice these tips to get a night of good sleep: \tMake a schedule for your sleep patterns that organizes and optimizes your sleep schedule. \tSwitch off every device 1 hour before going to sleep. \tTry to read a book or listen to some soothing music. Grandma\u2019s Tip: Take a bath or at least wash your face & legs before going to bed. It relaxes your brain & body and helps you to fall asleep faster. 8. Exercise Regularly: A fit body means a fit mind. You will be thinking that how is it possible to take out enough time to exercise while preparing for exams. But do you know regular exercise keeps you fit, motivated, and focused? We are not asking you to devote all your time and start training for a marathon. But it\u2019s important to get moving. Check out some suggestions: \tYou can jog, go biking, or even go for a walk, 5 to 6 times a week for about 30 minutes. \tSet small goals for yourself. Do not push yourself too much. \tMake exercising fun. Listen to music while working out or try dancing. \tRemember, eating nutritious & healthy food is necessary.\u00a0 9. Prioritise your Time & Make a Revision Timetable: Break your revision down into small chunks. Form a plan so that you won't have to think much at the start of the day about what to work on. Making a revision routine and writing to-do lists each day will keep you on track. It will boost your confidence and make you super ready for the exams.\u00a0 10. Put your Worries Aside & Be Kind to Yourself: Don\u2019t be too harsh on yourself. You are doing the best you can. You\u2019re following your plan, sticking to it, studying accordingly. You\u2019ll get the best.\u00a0 Celebrate your effort and always look for a bigger picture. You can: \tList your achievements. \tSome goals that you have completed. \tYour awards, your rewards. It will help in believing in yourself and push to do even brighter things. Tips by Career Counsellors to Deal with Exam Stress\u00a0 There are some common questions that students ask to reduce exam stress. We listed down some of those questions and asked some of the most renowned career counsellors to answer.\u00a0 Let\u2019s see some tips on how to reduce exam stress given by one of the most experienced career counsellors. Question No.1 - How much do students sleep to maintain their concentration?\u00a0 Ms. Pamela Ray Pawar We asked this question to Ms. Pamela Ray Pawar, a certified Global Career Counsellor and the founder of The LearnEd Academy, Mumbai. She answered the question very beautifully by giving the example of one of her students.\u00a0 In her words, \u201cMy student Anushka mentioned during her coaching session with me that everyone teases me about the ease with which I sleep! And it used to embarrass me!\u00a0\u00a0 But on further reflection, she shared that 'I've noticed that sleep allows me to get grounded and funnel my thoughts. Hence I land up being more productive. Studies seem less of a burden and I can tackle even my weaker subjects well'. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has recommended regular sleep for children aged 6-12 of 9\u201312 hours per 24 hours and teenagers aged 13\u201318 years should sleep 8\u201310 hours per 24 hours.\u00a0 It's proven that sleep can help the students to: - Excel in school by maximizing attention, memory, and learning abilities - Perform better in sports by being faster, stronger, and more accurate - 'Feel' good and more optimistic - Look their best and maintain healthy parameters - Have the enthusiasm to enjoy life and have fun Another important point I ask students to make, in today's context is,\u00a0 not to take school\/ college lessons sitting on the bed. Let the bed you sleep on be correlated to a place of sleep and not work. Then the mind can concentrate and differentiate between the two. This can ensure good sleep hours at night. Hence leading to better concentration through the day\u201d.\u00a0 Question No.2 - How should students revise before the examination?\u00a0 Ms. Palak Behal Who else can give a satisfactory answer other than Ms. Palak Behl? She is a certified Global Career Counsellor and the Recruitment Advisor at King's College London. In her words,\u00a0 \t\u201cMost importantly, start with a calm and relaxed state of mind.\u00a0\u00a0 \tAlways have a crunched version of the notes with just main headings and 1-2 lines summary. For example, flashcards are a great revision tool.\u00a0 \tAvoid picking up a completely new topic during revision just before the exams.\u00a0 \tCreate a structured plan that works best for you. It could be chapter wise or topic wise as per your convenience.\u00a0 \tDo a more detailed revision two or three days before the exam and a more crunched version or quick-glance version a day before the exam.\u00a0 \tStart your day early so that you have enough hours in the day to revise. \tSwitch off distractions like social media. \tTake adequate breaks and refresh yourself. \tSit in a good posture and in a calm place with a proper lighting system (studying in bed inside a quilt is not a great idea) to keep you attentive.\u00a0\u00a0 \tPractice diagrams to write effective answers. \tPractically solve equations and sums for practice\u201d.\u00a0 Question No. 3 - What should students do if their mind goes blank during the exams?\u00a0 Ms. Nahida Coelho We asked this question to Ms. Nahida Coelho, Founder & CEO of DiscoverU, Mumbai, and also a certified Global Career Counsellor.\u00a0 In her words, \u201cBreathe in Breathe out, is something I learned to consciously do much later in my life when I go blank. Today, I work with students who go through this fear which roots from anxiety (the anxiety and pressure to perform and excel). I recommend moving forward and responding to questions that might seem familiar.\u00a0 Once you get into the flow of writing or thinking about what to write, the mind tends to ease up and begins to connect the dots. While you do this, you need to keep breathing. If you notice that you go blank often during your exams you need to be conscious about this and spend some quiet time before your exam commences to gather your thoughts\u201d. Question No. 4 - How to reduce exam stress? Ms. Bhavyata Bendre We asked a certified Global Career Counsellor, Ms. Bhavyata Bendre, who is the Director, Right Track Consultants, Qatar to answer this.\u00a0 In her words \u201cI firmly believe that life skills are proscriptive and not prescriptive. Imagine a\u00a0 person having a heart attack, being asked to walk and eat well then! They are habits to keep your heart healthy. Similarly, students cannot be asked to beat stress in the heat of their exams. It has to be inculcated as a habit throughout the year so that stress is automatically reduced during exams.\u00a0 A common strategy is the 80:20 rule for exam preparation. Having taught at university, one thing that I often suggest to my students is that 20% of the most important concepts in a subject account for 80% of the questions in the exam. It is smarter to prepare them well first. The remaining 20% of the questions can be attempted by reading the chapters well since they are likely to be short answers or MCQ's. Preparing this way keeps the students confident while taking their exams\u201d.\u00a0 Question No. 5 - How should students deal with the disappointment & convince their family if the result is not good? Ms. Ritu Wason One of the greatest fears for a student is what if I am not good enough? How would I handle my family? How would I handle my relatives?\u00a0 Ritu Wason, Founder & CEO at Educrossroads Consulting, Mumbai specializes in Student Profile Building along with being a certified Global Career Counsellor.\u00a0 She answered this question beautifully, in her words, \u201cUndoubtedly, exam results are an important factor in ensuring admission into a good university. But it is not the only criteria. It is not the end of your dreams and aspirations. Like Overseas universities, Indian Universities are also now opening up to considering holistic profile for admissions which includes academic performance, entrance exam or SAT scores, community projects, social work, sports and other extracurricular activities, dramatics, debates, MUNs, internships, work experience and self-driven initiatives in areas of one\u2019s interests. Unfortunately, we, as parents put a lot of emphasis on exams and marks, especially in board classes, which leave children under tremendous pressure. Students who are not able to get the desired academic proficiency can look at other avenues to build and demonstrate other facets of their holistic personality.\u00a0 Every child has different capabilities, interests, and talents. There are endless opportunities for students to study further and make careers. They can be successful in career streams aligned to their interests and aptitude. Parents and counsellors can work together on identifying these interests & skills and then match them to the relevant careers children can pursue in the future. This collaboration will enable students to be happy and successful in their work\u201d. Final Words By following the above-mentioned tips, by the time you reach your exam, you'll be a pro. You\u2019ll feel no stress and will appear for the exams with confidence. Also, passing board exams are only a part of the story, there are always other paths to reach your goals. You\u2019ll have to just believe in yourself.\u00a0 For more exam tips, study tips, tips on how to reduce exam stress, Reach out to our expert career counsellors.