Exam stress management system, its scope and need of the day
Examinations are undoubtedly the cause of severe stress for most students. Sometimes exam stress might lead to a complete nervous breakdown. In some cases, more health disorders stem from exam stress like eating disorders, Insomnia etc. Exam stress management has become an essential aspect of a student's life to prevent exam stress from affecting students negatively. Priority should be given to exam stress management as it is crucial to a student's mental health. Overlooking stress management is harmful to the mental health of the students.
What is exam stress?
Exam stress is what it sounds like- it is stress due to exams. Almost all students experience exam stress- a study has found that approximately 82.2% of students experience some symptom of exam stress a week before the due date. In that same study, around 90% of students agreed that exams and studies negatively affected their mental health.
Some common symptoms of exam stress are-
- Loss of appetite
- Isolation from social relationships
- Decreased motivation to study
- Emotional instability
However, it is crucial to remember that stress might manifest itself in different ways. Thus, a student suffering from exam stress might not show most or either of these symptoms.
Effects of exam stress:
Exam stress affects an individual negatively and might manifest itself in both severe or mild symptoms. Some of the effects of exam stress are-
- Poor performance in exams
- Decreasing self-esteem
- Increasing anxiety
What is stress management?
Stress management is an umbrella term encompassing a wide range of techniques and psychotherapies aimed to help control one's stress so that it does not hinder the normal functioning of one's regular activities.
Stress management uses scientific methods to help an individual regulate their stress levels. The earliest instances of stress management therapy were Walter Cannon and Hans Selye's animal studies.
Methods of Exam stress management
There are several methods to manage stress, but their effectiveness is subjective. Thus, trying out several ways before deciding on the optimum stress management method is advisable. The most common ways to reduce exam stress are-
- Engaging in a hobby
- Listening to music
- Engaging in artistic relaxation
- Using humour as a coping mechanism
- Spending time in nature
- Spending quality time with family and friends
- Engaging in physical activities
- Cognitive therapy
- Conflict resolution
How to measure stress:
Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS) measure stress. The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale is another popular scale used to measure pressure. Measuring stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline also act as an indicator of stress levels in an individual.
The scope of exam stress management systems
Currently, there are no less than 1.5 billion students worldwide. No less than 70% of these students take exams regularly. 85% of these students have experienced exam stress in some way or the other. Stress management methods are introduced to these students to combat stress effectively, and students should practice it from a young age to effectively cope with stress.
Methods to introduce exam stress management systems:
- Spread awareness about these effective methods to combat stress
- Train young students to efficiently use suitable methods
- Provide students with counselling and teach them that these management systems can regulate stress.
- Provide students with information about stress and its symptoms
- Train students to deal with the symptoms if they become severe
Effectiveness of exam stress management systems
Exam stress management systems have produced beneficial psychological and immunological effects. Most cases resulted in positive outcomes. Usually, the treatments used might include cognitive therapy, talking therapy, anger management, biofeedback, autogenic training, etc. Psychotherapy and acupuncture have also produced positive results.
Positive outcomes of stress management system:
- Stress hormone levels significantly decrease.
- Decreased hostility and anger
- Ability to express emotions easily
- Control over-emotional outbursts
The need for exam stress management systems
Approximately one-fifth of the world's total population are students. Students are incredibly vulnerable as most of them are young and lack adults' mature thinking and decision-making skills. Stress and trauma are scientifically proven to affect our brains and change the way the brain processes information.
Pressure is one reason dyslexia, ADHD, and other neurodivergent disorders usually manifest in an individual at a young age.
Students rarely know how to combat stress effectively and thus may feel helpless when faced with it. This helplessness may push them towards drugs, criminal activities, self-harm or even suicide. According to a survey in the USA, a staggering two out of five students have engaged in drugs or other recreational activities.
Reasons why exam stress management systems are essential:
- These systems include methods that do not involve drugs, thus eliminating the risk of accidental drug addiction.
- Exam stress management systems have a high-efficiency rate.
- The methods also have other benefits, such as regulating the sleep cycle, better immunity, less muscle tension etc.
- A survey revealed that 80% of the stress management system users reported decreased anxiety, better sleep, increased appetite, and other positive outcomes.
Thus, stress management systems have consistently offered results and are equally as important to students as education.
Exam stress is natural and might turn out to be fatal if left untreated. Exam stress management systems can treat exam stress. All the methods are drug independent and have several benefits, and the plans are easy and accessible.
Spreading awareness about exam stress and its remedy is essential. Exposure of students to stress and a highly competitive environment may lead to neurological and other health-related disorders. It is necessary to implement stress management systems from a very young age so that a student can effectively deal with stress before they step into the rat race of the adult world. Thus, the scope of exam management systems and their need keeps increasing with each passing day.