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After Exam Stress, It’s Time to Counter Post Exam Stress

exam stressThe season of Exams has started. Now that JEE Main 2015 is just the 3 months away and JEE Advanced 2015 is sliding closer, lakhs of engineering aspirants will be working hard to crack these two competitive exams. However, only a handful will make it to the merit list. After giving the exams, stress levels of several students soar high as they are in knots over their test performance and exam scores.

What is Post Exam Stress?

Typically, all students undergo stress after the exam as they eagerly await for their results. It becomes a problem with students as they start feeling demotivated or their self-confidence go for a toss. In serious cases, students may also exhibit psycho-somatic symptoms that may translate into hyper tension, breathing problems and even cardiac arrest.


Symptoms of exam stress


Post exam stress often stems from the fear that your exam results will not be what you expect them to be. Other factors that trigger such stress include:

  • Desire that the results should reflect the hard work you put into your studies,

  • Pressure to fulfill the expectation of Others – be it parents, peers, mentors and society in general,

  • Need results that are necessary to help you take the next step in your course, career, or area of work,

  • Fear that Exam Results may be a step towards new phase of your life – away from your home, friends, parents and your normal routine,

  • Uncertain about your Decisions about Right Course or Career Path,

  • Want to be Equal to or Surpass your Friends or Peers

  • Fear of Failure or Not be Able to Crack Exams

Prevention Tips Before Exam Results

resultWhile you are waiting for exam results, anxiety and fear are the main stressors that you need to overcome.

  • Acknowledge and Express your Feelings: When you wait for your results, you may feel nauseous, nervous, excited, sad, hopeless or anxious. Be aware of your feelings and talk about them to others. You may also keep a journal or do something creative to express your feelings.

  • Be Realistic: Be brutally honest with yourself. If you haven’t worked hard, you cannot expect good results. Or if one of your subjects is too weak, you may not score well in it. Decide that you will be happy with the results that reflect your own targets and efforts, and not on what others expect from you.

  • Exercise: Exercising is a scientific way to deal with stress. When you exercise, hormones such as endorphins are released which help you feel better and more confident.

  • Indulge Yourself: Once the exams are over, you can take out some time to do things that you really enjoy and help you to relax. It could be a long walk in the park or the beach, long soak in a bubble bath, listening to your favourite music or playing games on your Playstation. Notice that you should feel fresh and light after the activity you choose for yourself.

  • Learn to Counter Unrealistic Expectations of Others: One exam cannot make much difference to your life but not being able to assert yourself to counter unrealistic expectation of others will definitely do. It might be difficult but still try to sit with people pressurising you and try to explain to them how you are feeling and what you are feeling. Once this discussion is over, you will feel a huge wave of relief.

  • Talk to Friends: You may want to talk to other friends who might be in the same situation but refrain from discussing the question paper.

Prevention Tips After Exam Results

Once exam results are declared, you will be relieved that the wait is finally over. But at this stage, disappointment is the major stressor for students.

  • Exam Results

    Chuck out Retrospective Thinking: It is easy to get trapped into negative thinking about what you could have done to score more. You may beat yourself up over it for as long as you want but it will not do you any good until you learn some lessons from it. If you can attempt exam once more, analyze what you did wrong last time and eliminate those mistakes when you prepare for exams again. If you cannot attempt the exam again, explore other options. Always think what you can do now to improve your future.
  • Not Everyone is Same: Everybody has different goals, different interests and different expectations from life. Do not judge yourself from what others have achieved.

  • Exams are Stepping Stones, not Targets: Irrespective of how competitive an exam is, it is just a stepping stone to something bigger. If you do not make it to the IITs, there are still a lot of options open for you to become an engineer. Find alternative ways to reach your ultimate goal. Set your targets according to what you want, and not what you are expected to do.

  • Exam Results do not Define You: Learn to disassociate yourself from your performances. Exams only judge your skills and knowledge and not the reflection of your self-worth. Skills and knowledge can be learnt or picked up whenever you want. Do not make the mistake of accepting one failure as your fate or inability and become a victim of negative thinking.

  • Be Prepared to Reward Yourself: Whether you are delighted with your results or disappointed with your performance, socialize and participate in celebrations. Distract yourself with happy faces and avoid being alone.

  • Make Future Plans: Now that exam results are over, it is not the time to mope over them. It is time to explore your options and decide which way to take now.

  • Challenging Results: If you think the marks you have got do not reflect your true performance, challenge your results within the specified deadline. Consult academic experts and check out rules specified by exam authorities for re-evaluation of your scores.


CureIf you feel that post exam stress is impacting your normal activities, health or daily life, you must consult a counselor, or even a psychiatrist. In any case, do not ignore what you are feeling. True engineers and scientists never let one failed experiment be the reason to drop their research work and this is the question of your entire life. So, stand up, seek help and overcome the challenge.

Best of Luck!

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