Time tables, syllabi, tuition and alarm clocks. Butterflies in the stomach, tension, sleeplessness and panic…what is your state of mind right now? MetroPlus speaks to parents and psychiatrists to find out how best to counter the exam epidemic

Support System: This is the time for parents to be pillars of support. They must stop needling them about studies and adding to their stress. Just listen to your children, allay their fears and take care of their health.

Be Positive: Students always tend to think of their worst performance; instead, recall the times when you have been scared but have still managed to do well. Focus on positive experiences from the past and derive strength from them. When you worry, concentration and memory power come down.

Revision Time: Remember that this is not the time to learn anything new; it is only time for revision.

Move On: After submitting your paper, never come out and compare what you’ve written with friends. Move on. Comparing notes will just interfere with the preparation for the next exam.

Right Attitude: Remember, it is just an exam, not the end of life. Approach the exam like not like a batsman (if you’re out, your game’s over), but like a tennis player (even after a bad shot, you still have a chance to save the game).

D. Srinivasan, consultant psychiatrist, KMCH

Calm Sutra

Abhigyan is in the 12th and in boarding. “My exam mantra for both my son and myself is ‘be calm’. I have told Abhigyan that he must go out and play every evening. He plays football. That way he expends energy and it takes his mind off any anxiety. Anxiety is counter-productive. He is fortunate he is in an environment where mobiles, Facebook and television are not accessible during exams. I am thankful for that as I think there is nothing as detrimental and distracting than these. Time is wasted, more anxiety is piled on and the focus shifts from the exam at hand. As a long-distance mom, I have asked him to eat a healthy breakfast and to snack on dry fruits in the evenings. - Ranjana Singhal

Confidence Matters

My son Kush gave his Class 12 exams last year. I did not sit down with him for even a single day. He got up early, studied, and wrote his exams. He was very confident about his preparation. He watched television, played games on the computer, even worked the cash till in our restaurant… nothing in his routine changed just because it was his exams. When he got his marks (97.6 per cent), I knew his confidence was not misplaced. It only goes on to show that children do well, whether we get behind them to study, or not. - Archana Pasari

Beat the stress

Of late, parents don’t pressurise children that much. They are aware that the current education system gives enough options for every student to explore her/his area of interest. But what needs attention is handling stress in students after the exam results are out. Most schools have regular counselling sessions that help children to cope with examinations stress. Children are stressed especially in their eleventh and twelfth. Suddenly the syllabus is huge, there is the pressure of the grading system that rates them as A1, A2, A3 and so on. It pushes students to compete against each other for a matter of a few marks.

Don’t doubt your abilities. Don’t compare yourself with your friends. Don’t push yourself too hard. That will only add to the anxiety. Tackle one subject at a time. Set achievable deadlines. Don’t get distracted. Take practical tips from a relative who has recently appeared in the exams recently. You don’t have to be either extremely casual or overly anxious. Take a middle path, be confident and give it your best shot. - Consultant psychiatrist Ponni Muralidharan, KG Hospital

Six Steps to Success

* Sleep well for at least seven hours before your exam.

* Don’t skip breakfast.

* If children leave early for an exam, give them a fruit (to eat an hour before.

* Drink water before you enter the exam hall to keep hydrated.

* After your exam, have a snack or lunch and rest for a while before get ing back to your books.

* Don’t eat fried stuff or junk food during exams; they make you sleepy. You can also catch an infection eating street food. Stick to healthy, home-cooked food.

Dharini Krishnan, consultant nutritionist and dietician