Result Anxiety

Anxiety, self doubt, panic and fear about the future are just some of the feelings that the students may go through in the next few days as they await for their board results.

Feeling anxious before the result of any performance is quite normal. It is probably related to their own expectations and those of people close to them. Just because they feel anxious doesn’t necessarily mean that they did poorly. In fact, even people who passed their exams with flying colours were equally anxious as they waited for their results.

Apart from the obvious fear of receiving results that are not what they or their parents expected, a lot of other factors are at play during this time e.g. fear of failure, result similar to your friends, to get admission in a particular course or institution.

However it is important to cope with this result related anxiety and manage their expectations accordingly. Even if they know that the exams didn’t go well, don’t forget that they have done all the hard work. Even if they don’t get the grades they want, there are other options.

It is important to help the student to realise his own expectations realistically. Dealing with their own or others unrealistic expectations can be very difficult to cope with. If the stress is the result of the unrealistic expectations of others, one needs to address this issue. Sit together and talk about it. Once this expectation is discussed and managed properly, it can be of huge relief. There are more than 800 career options available today. There is no reason to tread the conventional road. Grades are not a measure of self-worth.

Tips for Students:

  1. You might feel better if you try to think like an optimist, even if you’re not normally an optimistic person. There is nothing you can do about the grades at this point, so the best attitude might be to assume the best.
  2. Learn to recognize “negative self-talk” and combat it with positive, self-supportive statements such as “I have done my best”, “I’ll get good marks”.
  3. Learn and use relaxation techniques. Progressive muscle relaxation, controlled breathing and visualization can help you fight some of the physical responses to anxiety and stress.
  4. Get enough sleep and don’t stay up all night before results day, however nervous you are.
  5. One practical thing you can do is to have a plan B. Plan for what to do if you don’t get expected grades. There are options such as re-takes and going to a different university or course.
  6. Tell yourself that if it’s not gone well it’s not the end of the world. You can re-take to improve grades.
  7. Talking to your parents or a teacher about how you feel could really help. Your elders are there to support you and may not be aware of the pressures that you feel.
  8. Explore the career options available for you on the bases of different grades that you are expecting. Its better to go through some career decision making test to get an idea about the career that will be best for you according to your skills, abilities, interest and personality.

Tips for parents:

  1. Be alert for hidden signs of stress as young people don’t always show how much pressure they’re under. Watch for changes in behaviour.
  2. Go out to divert attention from impending results and tell your child that however they have done you are proud of them.
  3. Stay calm and be supportive. If you panic as a parent they will think there’s something to panic about.
  4. Whatever you feel, don’t show it so they can rely on you to help them through a stressful time.
  5. Tell your child “Nothing is forever. This has happened, now let’s see what we can do.”
  6. It can be helpful to seek the assistance of a counsellor, therapist, or psychologist who can help you and your child to deal with the emotional components of the result related anxiety.

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