How to go from exam stress to "All is well"

You would relate to exam stress if you remember Rancho, Farhan, Raju and Chatur from 3 idiots. 


We’ve all been there, but each of us deals with exam nerves differently, just like how the characters in the movie dealt with theirs.


81.6% of secondary school students in India suffer examination-related anxiety, according to an International Journal of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences paper published in 2015. 


Children feel stressed before exams due to multiple thoughts that run through their mind. 


The fear of not being able to perform. The fear of failure. The feeling of not being prepared enough. Sometimes they feel like they have very little time left and there’s too much to revise. Should they work on chapters they aren’t very confident about or concentrate on the ones that they know well?

Exam stress, All is well, 3 idiots

All of these thoughts can hinder their ability to think clearly.


For a few children the pressure can help them remain focused, and for others it could be a little too stressful. This varied response is a by-product of the body's natural mechanism when faced with a stressful situation. Our body produces adrenaline which triggers the fight or flight response.


And it’s not just exams, Virat Kohli gets nervous every time he goes out to bat. 


It’s similar to what kids face right before they write an exam. So how does Virat deal with it?


He trains hard before the game. He makes sure there’s ample time for him to rest and for his muscles to be in optimum shape on match day. 


Want to help your kids overcome exam fear? Keep these in mind:


  • Diet and hydration: Make sure your children stay hydrated and eat food that’s healthy and satiating. Encourage them to take a walk or indulge in some non-strenuous physical activity.

  • Avoid Negativity: Refrain from comparing your children with their peers, or bringing up past performances. Don’t constantly bring up topics about “not wasting time” or “studying throughout the year”.


It’s natural for parents to feel stressed during exams, and negativity could become counterproductive and hamper the child's performance. Deep breathing, meditation and practicing gratitude can help.


  • Take stock of the situation: Before diving in head first into revising for exams, take a moment to list down areas where children are confident and areas where they are not so confident.

This can be followed up with a quick check through the key concepts of the areas where your children are confident, to make sure they don’t miss out anything.


  • Make a routine: Once you and your child have created a list of topics after taking stock, you can then prioritize the ones that need focus.

Factor in buffer days, time for breaks, and limited recreation (time bound) to help reduce stress. There’s no one way to study or make a schedule. For example if your kids are comfortable  studying at night, be supportive rather than convincing them to study when they wake up in the  morning. 


  • Revisions and mock tests: They are a big part of any exam preparation. Especially during just before exams, it's difficult to go through prescribed school books and understand concepts that weren’t initially clear.

Rather than memorising, explain the concepts through day-to-day experiences or experiments which would be easier to grasp and remember. It should take far less time than going through the book.


Mock tests are one of the best ways to get exam ready. It helps children gauge their understanding of the subject and practice time management in a simulated exam-like environment.


The graded mock tests from Openhouse come with a: 


  • Exam readiness score

  • Detailed break-up of performance on various sections of the mock-exam

  • Sections where the most frequent errors were made

  • Areas of improvement

  • Qualitative notes from experienced evaluators and

  • A doubt clearing session with the evaluator

Whether your child is a Ron Weasley or a Hermoine Granger, exams are just a part of life, and it’s important to remind them what Benjamin Spock said “trust yourself, you know more than you think you do”.