Many Candidates are nervous about their performance in final examination.

Most of the time parents and teachers think that this fear of exam is self inflicted. What these two parties do not know is that they contribute a great deal to the student’s level of anxiety.

Research has found that anxiety and fear can negatively impact concentration and school work, making it difficult for students to focus on tasks. This leads to low grades, poor performance, and difficulty creating and maintaining relationships with their peers.

Most teachers and parents tend to always talk of the exam….
“Good morning…..EXAM…”
“Good afternoon…EXAM…”
“You are playing and ……..EXAM…”

In as much as talking about the exam is necessary; the frequency at which we talk about creates a lot of panic among the students.

Does this sound familiar?

  • Candidates cannot be involved in sports activities since they need to focus on preparing for final examination?
  •  Candidates cannot be involved in extracurricular activities like drama festivals, science congress and debates since the students need to prepare for final examination?
  • Candidates wake up earlier than other students so that they can have enough time to study and prepare for final examination, etc.

When we are anxious we produce a hormone called cortisol. Research shows that this hormone produced by the adrenal gland, has been shown to damage and kill cells in the hippocampus (the brain area responsible for our memory) and there is robust evidence that academic saturation (too much focus on academics only) causes premature brain aging. Researchers also say that everyday academic stress can be leading to changes in the brain that make the students more vulnerable to mental, as well as social disorders ranging from depression to addiction and behavioral conditions.
This explains why, before the examinations, students tend to behave in an unusual manner such as:

  • Some of them organize strikes when they are about to sit for their MOCK exams
  • Some even sneak from school
  • Others become socially withdrawn, moody and temperamental
  • A few display ‘don’t care’ attitude
  • Some become Rebellious ( grow horns)

SIMPLE THINGS PARENTS CAN DO TO REDUCE STUDENTS’ ANXIETY

Allocate time to engage your child in discussions on topics that are not necessarily related to academics. This helps the child know that there is life beyond the examination. This also helps open the lines of communication between you and your child as it creates great platforms for rapport. When your child feels comfortable talking to you about life issues it becomes easier for them to confide in you even about matters affecting them at a personal level e.g. Academic performance, relationships etc. An example of such topics would be:

  • Life In The First World Countries,
  • Talk about the current affairs in the media
  • Personal Branding
  • Talk About your child’s Dreams and Aspirations and for Heaven’s sake do not slip in the issue of exam grades.
  1. Stop comparing your child with other children who could be doing better than them in school or in other areas of life.

Most parents do this as a way of trying to encourage their children to be better but in the real sense children feel like parents appreciate other children better than them.
Celebrate your child’s strengths and work with them to improve on their weak areas. Giving criticism doesn’t make the child any better but helping them develop a strategy on how to overcome a challenge is the best gift you can give your child and show them appreciation.

  1. Introduce Brain Gym Exercise- Brain exercises have been proven effective in helping to arrest academic challenges like reading and comprehension, oral and written communication and math in children and above all keep them away from wasting time on the TV and internet.
    The brain exercises have helped many children attain an improved vision and high self-esteem. They are also being used to arrest the academic challenges of concentration and memory. They facilitate the brain and body to work more efficiently together to make thinking and learning, movement and creativity easier.

Below is a simple brain gym exercise you can teach your child:

  1. Connect your tongue to the palate of your mouth.
  2. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  3. Squeeze the right ear lobe with your left thumb and left index finger.
  4. Squeeze the left ear lobe with your right thumb and right index finger.
  5. The left arm must be inside and the right arm outside. This is the correct arm position.
  6. When squatting down, inhale simultaneously.
  7. When standing up, exhale simultaneously.
  8. Repeat steps 6 and 7, 21 times per session.
  9. Release your fingers from your ear lobes.
  1. Feed your child with foods for memory improvement-
  •  B Complex Vitamins-For one thing, it is one of the primary boosters of energy production in the tiny factories of the cell, the mitochondria. This gives it a special place in brain protection, because if energy runs down, brain cells function less efficiently; also more free radical damage accumulates in the genes of the cell, potentially leading to poor memory. Example of foods include liver, fish, turkey, peanuts, peas, butternut and pumpkin.
  • Extra Virgin Coconut Oil- Take at least one table spoon full of extra virgin coconut oil per day. Research has proven that doing this can also help with Alzheimer’s disease. Coconut is a rich source of medium chain tryglycerides ( MCTs) which act as an alternative fuel for the brain thus facilitating good memory. I have made it a habit to take a teaspoon every night and I must say my memory has improved quite a bit. Now not only do I recall people’s faces, I have a better chance of recalling their names too.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids-These are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function. In fact, infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems. Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation. Example of foods include soy beans, cauliflower, flax seeds, fish and fish oil
  1. Have Power breathing sessions every morning and evening. The formula is 1: 4: 2

1 Take a deep breath, inhaling the air through nose and letting it go right into the stomach. While inhaling the stomach should go out.
4 They should count up to 4 before they exhale.
2 The student should count up to 2 as they slowly exhale. While exhaling the stomach should go in.
The student should repeat this 10 times.

  • Image Streaming
    This involves describing a visual image out loud in detail in all senses which synchronizes several parts of the brain which would not normally happen.
    The aim is to develop connections between the two hemispheres of the brain via the corpus collosum, which is done by combining right brain activity and left brain activity, such that the hemispheres must communicate.
    After doing this training for 30 days a child is able to record higher IQ ratings.
    Creativity also improves by 25%.
  • Find a comfortable and uninterrupted place where you can sit down and relax for a while. Listening to relaxation music is helpful.
  • Close your eyes and after a while, just try to see an image in your mind.
  • Describe this image out loud in present tense with all your senses involved, as fast as possible without any judgment. Imagine you are describing it to another person, and you want the person to see, feel and experience exactly what you see, feel and experience.
  • In the beginning, use a tape recorder for the description. It helps you to stay focused.
  • Try to describe as many details of the image as you possibly can. This will lead to better clarity. And don’t stop describing.
  • Continue for 15-20 minutes.
  • Once you’re done, play the imaginary in your head once more or use the tape recorder to to replay the session and visualize it once more.