With board exams for 10th and 12th classes underway, more and more students are making distress calls to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)’s centralised toll free helpline 1800118004 and a few are even knocking on the doors of shrinks.
Nervousness and sleeplessness top the list of fear and anxiety related concerns of students. Psychologists in the city say this cannot be solved immediately. I am not able to sleep because of nervousness over the exams; My confidence is breaking up ahead of the examinations — these are some of the most common concerns aired by students ahead of the board exams.
According to Dr Diana Monteiro, consulting psychologist, Hyderabad Academy of Psychologists, stress can be either mood or anxiety related. “A number of students keep coming to me with fear over whether they will be able to perform well. Performance requires practice and long-term preparation. Those who fail to prepare in advance are the ones who fall for depression, fear and anxiety,” she explains. Exams often trigger underlying anxiety problems and lead to common issues like gastroentero issues, lack of sleep, shaky and nervousness inside, rising heartbeats etc, she added.
On Tuesday, a student, who was visibly stressed, came to her for help. He isn’t a poor student. In fact, he’s good and had scored consistently well. “But on the eve of the exam, he just couldn't manage the stress. He studies and performs very well but is not able to manage time just before the exams,” Dr Diana Monteiro said, adding that the key is to understand the problem and not magnify it.
What do the teachers think? Usharani, principal, Meridian School, said, “Since CBSE follows continuous and comprehensive evaluation, 70% of the weightage is already assessed and evaluated. And also, they need to study only half of the portions for the board exams. They are not tense or nervous as it used to be.” According to her, today’s parents are also less anxious. “Now board exams are not like an end of the year event where a student needs to study everything he is taught throughout the year. Parents know that,” she pointed out.
PVN Sobha, a home-maker and mother of Sona who is giving her 10th standard board exams, echoes similar views. “She is preparing for the exams between 7 am and 7 pm, including extra study hours at school. We just make sure that she eats and sleeps well,” said Sobha. According to her, children should be allowed to do whatever they are interested in. “Forcing children and putting additional pressure on them will not work. Parents should ensure that they do not pass on their nervousness to the children,” she pointed out.
But with the CBSE having reduced the chances of Compartment for Class 12 from five to three and the number of attempts for improvement for Class 10 from five to one, there is every chance that a student would be more worried. The toll free helpline number operated by CBSE lets a student connect to the principals or counsellors in case of exam-related queries or anxiety-management apart from answering general queries. Information is also being provided at the CBSE website www.cbse.nic.in.