Published: 20th May 2023
CUET 2023: Tips to tackle exam stress as per mental health experts
The season of entrance exams brings anxiety and stress to the student community. But if you are feeling the pre-jitters, these tips might help.
With less than 24 hours left for India’s second-largest entrance examination, exam stress and anxiety are high among students.
The second edition of the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) will commence on Sunday, May 21, for admissions to some of India's finest universities. Almost 14 lakh students have enrolled for the examination this year, seeking admission into central, state, or private universities, marking a 41 per cent rise compared to the previous year.
Here are some suggestions from mental health experts that you can adopt, particularly in the final hours, to alleviate exam anxiety and prepare yourself mentally for the significant day.
Eat well, Get enough sleep
In the competitive environment during the exam season, students often disregard their physical health. However, mental health experts say that it might directly affect your performance in exams and advise you to be extra mindful of your physical health right before the examination.
“Before the day of the exam, the most important thing is that the students get good sleep. At least six hours of sleep is absolutely necessary. Secondly, since the hot weather during this time of the year can affect the students, hydration is crucial. It has a direct impact on the neurotransmitters in our body and can affect the students,” explained Dr Yukti Rastogi, clinical psychologist and counsellor at IIT Hyderabad.
Dr Rastogi also added that a good diet, preferably vitamin-rich, should be taken before the examination.
Spend time with your family/friends
In the last few hours before the exam, experts recommend that students spend time with family or friends to declutter their thoughts.
“It is advisable that the students spend time with their family and avoid any excessive revision a few hours before the exam as that would only clutter their brains. They can watch TV or do whatever they normally enjoy. In the morning also, it is better if the student follows their normal routine and not take up any new topics,” said Dr Om Prakash Professor of Psychiatry, Institute of human behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), Delhi.
Dr Rastogi also advised the parents not to put too much pressure or expectations on the students.
“Parents have to understand that the student is already under too much pressure and the best they can do is to not add on to the pressure,” she said.
Say positive words to yourself
Dr Rastogi stressed the importance of positive affirmation when it comes to exam stress and anxiety.
“Instead of telling yourself that ‘I have to qualify this or get a good rank’ instead tell yourself that ‘I will give my best today’ Tell yourself that you are well prepared and you will learn from any mistakes that you make,” Rastogi added.
She added that for students who struggle with exam phobia or performance anxiety, affirmations can help keep a calm mindset for the examination.
One exam will not decide your future
Since CUET facilitates admissions for some of the top institutes in India like Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Banaras Hindu University, etc, students often have a mindset that their performance in this exam will determine their entire career.
Dr Yukti Rastogi said that fixating on these thoughts would only add to the exam stress. Instead, the students should try to focus on what they know best.
“The result or what is going to happen is not under your control. You can give your best and try to attempt questions you know the best first and leave the difficult ones for later. In the end, even if you do not get into the best universities, your skills will help you build a career,” she said.
Plan your day well
The mental health experts advised the students who will be appearing for CUET to plan their day in a way that they have sufficient time for their regular activities and reach the exam centre on time.
“It is always advisable to reach the exam centre at least one hour before the reporting time. This is to make sure that you do not face any traffic issues, last minute changes as that adds to the exam stress and would affect their performance,” said Dr Om Prakash.
Lastly, the experts added that if the students are experiencing anxiety while writing the examination, focus on breathing exercises right before the exam.