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How To Deal With Exam Results Anxiety: Tips For Parents And Students

Posted on Jul 14, 2018
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Exam Results

You are out with friends talking about sports, the latest fashion trends and TV shows, when suddenly it hits you that exam results are in the horizon.  Your happiness turns into anxiety and you just want to head back home.  Waiting for exam results can be nerve-wracking.  It’s normal to feel stressed, however don’t let those feelings dictate your day. Here are five tips on how to deal with the nervousness prior to the results:

  • Identify the source of anxiety.

Students: Are you worried about what others may think or is your stress related to future career aspirations? It’s important to understand what is causing the anxiety.  Listen to your body and pinpoint when you feel the panic attacks. Only once you recognize the root of the problem, can you take the appropriate steps to mitigate them.

Parents: Watch out for signs of stress and anxiety.  Has your child reduced their food intake or become increasingly irritable? Are they not sleeping well? Not only look out for these changes in behavior or habits, but also what is triggering them.  Make sure you are not the root cause of your child’s angst.

  • Communicate with your loved ones.

Students: It’s important to share the anxiety with people whom you love and trust. This could be your parents, your siblings, other family members or friends. Talking will not only calm your fears but may also make your feel better about the situation. Don’t be embarrassed to openly discuss what you are undergoing – chances are everyone has gone through similar experiences.

Parents: Let your child know they are the most important thing in your lives and not the results. When they discuss their fears and concerns, listen to them, acknowledge their feelings and avoid criticism.  Your support, advice and encouragement will help them put things in perspective.  Most importantly, let them know that if things don’t go well it’s not the end of the world.

  • Have a contingency plan in place.

Students: Don’t only focus on the worst-case scenario – but also have options should things pan out as expected or even better! Do your homework prior to the results, mapping out all your alternatives, to avoid last minute panic. For example, if you are a 10th or 12th grader, make a list of potential courses and universities, connect with them to understand their admission criteria, speak to students and alumni to gain deeper insight.  By getting organized and knowing your options early, you will significantly alleviate your concerns.

Parents: Your child may need your guidance as they identify alternate routes or career options. Sit down with your child to understand their strengths and preferences.  Help them weigh the pros and cons of each of the alternatives. Has your child done the introspection and due diligence? Is there anything you can shed light on?  You need to brainstorm with your child to make sure the have considered all the options.  If you do not have the answers, then help them identify the appropriate sources.

  • Stay active.

Students: It’s important to keep yourself busy rather than spending the time counting down to results day. Get a job, take a short holiday, discover a new hobby or finish those forever pending items on your to do list.  Remove or distract yourself from the stressful environment.

Parents: Encourage them to actively utilize their day. Help them join a club, or take classes in their area of interest. Look at what activities you can do together as family.  Based on your child’s hobbies, find options that will excite them.

  • Be Positive.

Students: Remember it’s not possible to change the outcome of the exam results, but you can change how you deal with the situation. Do not replay or obsess about the past.  Accept that you have taken your exams and cannot go back in time.  Focus on what lies ahead.

Parents: You too might be concerned about your child’s results, but showcasing this worry will only burden them more, probably adding to their anxiety. The best way to help is to remind them of the things they do well and encourage them not to compare themselves to their friends.

Exam don’t define who you are, they are merely a set of results.  If things do not pan out as expected, don’t be disheartened.  You will need to reevaluate your situation but it is not the end of the world.  Your hard work and determination will govern your future, not your results.

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This article was also published in Money Control on 31/07/2017.