Stress has a simple formula: Stress = pressure / resilience.
Pressure, the numerator here, includes what’s coming from outside – targets, exams, rank etc.
Resilience is my inner strength to handle that pressure.
Consider the simple metal sheets used in industrial applications. Different metal sheets are subjected to the same amount of pressure, but the stress factor of every metal is different because every metal sheet’s power to face that pressure is different. Now in the formula:
Stress = pressure divided by resilience
We have conveniently ignored the denominator and focussed only on stress. It’s ignored because one is not ready to take responsibility for their inner strength. Hence, stress = pressure. If I have an exam, obviously I will get tense. So, the trick is to increase your resilience- the more resilient you are, the better you can handle the stress! It is that simple. Now, let’s explore how we can do that.
1. Study on a regular basis: The first and foremost reason for exam stress is not being adequately prepared for it, which in turn, is the result of not studying on a regular basis. It is the mountain of backlog to be taken care of, in a short period which takes away the fun from the process of learning. So my advice to the students is to study on a regular basis.
2. Revision, revision, revision: I had read an essay by the great intellectual and nationalist Lala Hardayal where he says that without proper revision, the studies are like rainfall on a sloping roof”. I have emphasised the value of revision in my book- ‘The Wind Beneath His Wings’ and I quote-
“Instil a habit of revision in your child – different types of revision at that. At bedtime, he should try to mentally visualise what all he has studied during the day. On Sundays, he should revise all that has been covered during the week. Likewise, at month end, he should revisit the ground covered during the month.”
3. Meditation and Pranayam: I strongly recommend meditation and Pranayam- they boost the capacity of the brain to work long hours without getting tired.
4. Realistic schedule: Make a realistic schedule for yourself. By this, I mean, a routine that you can follow in the long run. There should be a balance in it. A realistic plan is one where you find some time for TV, some for sports or whatever you like to do.
5. Taking a number of mock tests: It is not difficult to get some model papers prepared with a view to the ensuing exam. The students should take at least 4-5 mock tests before the actual exam and in conditions worse than the actual exam. For example- if the duration of the exam is 3 hours, you should try to take 15 minutes less so that you find three hours ample time when you are writing the exam.
Apart from that, I strongly feel that parents can also play a big role in keeping their children stress free. First of all, have realistic expectations for your child. Today there are so many career options so one need not be good in studies only. Let your child find his/ her passion & then let him/her achieve it. Last but not the least, no exam is the end of the world. Study hard, enjoy your studies, have faith in God and you will do well.