Trying Times

In the run-up to the board exams, experts provide you tips on how to handle exam-related pressure Rugumini Kedarnath, faculty member, St Ann’s High School, Hyderabad While it isn’t possible for all students to excel in an exam, building realistic expectations by taking into account how well prepared you are is a prudent way of ensuring that you don’t stress yourself over an unattainable goal. Students must realise that they cannot cover the curriculum with last-minute efforts. The month before the exam must only be devoted to revisions. Students must make notes throughout the year to avoid unnecessary hassle before the exam. One of the advantages of making notes is that it is easy to recollect the lessons learnt previously. These are also ideal for lastminute revisions on the day of the exam. Make a timetable in which you chart daily goals and follow it religiously. Allot three to five days to revise each subject based on your notes.

Students also get preparatory leave of one to three days between exams. This time must be devoted to revising notes. Make sure that you don’t overburden yourself with new topics during this period as you are not likely to retain what you have learnt. Ensure that you get eight hours of sleep and that you are relaxed. Lack of adequate sleep will affect your attention span and memory retention capabilities. It will also make you more irritable. Lastly, remember to take frequent 15-minute breaks during studies where you can take up activities that put your mind at ease, be it spending time with the family or going for a walk. Such breaks ensure that you are well-rested and ready for the next round of studies.

Niti Desai, Mumbai-based nutritionist

While it is important to focus on exam prepara tion, students must also keep in mind that eating healthy can make a big difference in improving memory and concentration and helps you relax.It is common to find students guzzling down cups of coffee to keep themselves awake. However, while coffee makes you more alert temporarily, large quantities of caffeine will, in fact, make you more irritable adding to your stress levels.

Similarly, students should also stay away from aerated drinks and food items which have high sugar content. While sugar boosts your energy levels for a short period of time, you start feeling sluggish when your sugar levels eventually slump.The key is to have complex carbohydrates such as multigrain chapatis, whole wheat bread, banana, sweet potato, sprouts salad instead of refined products such as rice, white bread, biscuits, fruit juices and processed products such as noodles.Make sure to also include proteins in every meal -especially at breakfast time and between meal snacks. Egg whites with multigrain toast or high fibre cereal with skimmed milk or oats with milk or gobi paratha with curd are excellent breakfast options. Sprouts salad, a fruit milkshake, chana or salad sticks with a hung curd dip are also excellent snack options.

Try to include a handful of mixed nuts every day in your diet. Flaxseeds, sesame and pumpkin seeds help boost one’s brain power. Packed with protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, nuts and seeds may uplift your mood and keep you calm.

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