It's normal to experience some pressure or even anxiety about an upcoming exam. In fact, it's this heightened sense of awareness that allows students to function well and perform their best in a test. However, the pressure to perform is greater than ever before, with examination results playing a prominent role in a student's ability to succeed in the future. This pressure could lead to stress, which in turn may result in underperformance.
At GIIS, we encourage both parents and educators to be aware of the signs of stress and to actively work to minimise stress in students. There are important exams on the horizon, including the CBSE, IGCSE and IBDP, so now is the ideal time to review these tips.
Signs of Student Stress
As each individual experiences stress differently, it's important to recognise that stress can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Some of the most common signs of excessive stress or anxiety in students include:
- Physical health issues — Children who are experiencing a lot of stress about an upcoming exam can have physical health complications. This can include vomiting or nausea, lack of appetite, lack of sleep or excessive fatigue.
- Change in their mood — A child who is overly stressed about an upcoming exam may suddenly be volatile or irritable, and may no longer be enjoying the same types of activities or hobbies that they typically enjoy.
- Consistently performing below potential in exams — In some cases, children who experience anxiety about exams do not perform as well on them. A child who is typically a high achiever may be too stressed if they consistently underperform on their exams.
Proactive Approaches Used at GIIS to Minimise Stress
At GIIS, we recognise that undue stress over exams can actually cause children to perform below their potential, which is why our administrators and educators actively work to reduce stress throughout the entire year.
One of the most important aspects of our examination strategy is our syllabus timeline. The teachers at GIIS create a syllabus for each course that is designed to complete all work several weeks ahead of the examination. This allows students adequate time to review and practice the material prior to the exam, which helps them to feel confident and comfortable with all of the material.
In addition, the teachers at GIIS develop personal relationships with each child, which allows them to understand the potential of each individual. When they notice the signs or symptoms of stress in a child, they offer one-on-one counselling to help that child work through their feelings and to identify areas where additional resources may be needed. The goal is to help each child feel calm and confident before they enter the exam room.
Tips to Avoid Exam Stress: A Guide for Parents
Parents also should work in partnership with teachers and administrators to help reduce exam stress. These tips can help parents:
- Help children create a learning technique that works for them. Assist the child with becoming organised, and help them develop a system that allows them to track their own progress throughout the year.
- When working with a child, give them questions that they should know the answer to first. This will help them feel confident before beginning more challenging questions.
- Provide a home environment that is calm, pleasant and supportive.
- Encourage your child to take breaks, and spend quality time with them as they rest their bodies and minds.
- Increase physical activity and exercise during exam season to help them release stress.
In addition, parents should avoid putting extra pressure on their children during exam time. This will only exacerbate the problem and will increase the likelihood of poor performance on the exam.
At the end of the day, children should be aware of the importance of their upcoming exams, but they also should know that their exams cannot take priority over their personal health and well-being. At GIIS, we actively work to prevent the onset of student stress by providing a well-planned curriculum within our classrooms. In addition, GIIS has an in-house student counsellor who is trained to spot the signs of excessive stress or anxiety in students, and they have resources available to help children manage their stress levels.
For more information on how GIIS prioritises child well-being, contact us today.