I cannot face my exams, help!

Nithin has always been a brilliant student. He is keenly interested in studies, enjoys attending classes, participates in all academic activities, and is one of the first to raise his hand to answer whenever any teacher asks a question in class. He is normally a cheerful and lively young boy.

I cannot face exams even after studying well I cannot face exams
Image Credit (L): Andreas Jønsen, wikimedia CCA 3, (R): Caitlin Regan, cc-by-2.0, flickr.com

But he undergoes a complete change when the final exams come close. Nithin withdraws into a shell, becomes extremely serious, does not enjoy any other activity, and keeps his nose to the textbooks every waking hour. And despite all his hard work, when the time comes to go for the exams, he finds himself falling sick! He either runs up temperature, develops nausea and vomiting, or gets a splitting headache.

Nithin is not the only one to face this type of situation. There are many students who go through this type of agony. And sadly, many of them are good students, who actually need not have any worry about exams. They just need to go and answer the test papers, and would come out with flying colours. But try as they may, they cannot bring down the severe tension that seems to engulf them at the time of exams, and eventually get into serious problems or complications.

If you are a student like Nithin, or the parent of such a child, there is no need to worry. Simple precautions, and this state of affairs can be smoothly avoided.

Stress related Problems

I cannot face exams even after studying well. I fall sick.
Credit: Jixar, cc-by-2.0, flickr.com

The physical symptoms that occur, or get aggravated due to exam stress, include: fever, headache, wheezing, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, low back pain, and either intense drowsiness or sleeplessness. If such symptoms seem to be occurring near exam time, take the following steps

  1. Consult your physician, one who knows your history and can check and guide if there really is a medical reason for your symptoms. If he reassures that there is nothing wrong with you, that itself will give you a little more confidence to face the situation.
  2. Keep a note of your symptoms, how often they occur, particularly during exam time, and if they are exclusive to pre-exam days, become aware that it is your mind that is causing your body to fall sick.


Since prevention is better than cure, even with few days left before your exams, take these steps. Of course, they would be far more effective if begun much earlier

sleep well
Image Credit: stuartpilbrow, cc-by-sa-2.0, flickr.com
  • Much before exams, make a routine that relieves stress. Get proper sleep, have proper diet (and eat on time), choose your favourite means of relaxation which should include physical activity.
  • Talk to a parent, friend, relative or counsellor – anyone who will listen to you without giving you unnecessary advice. Keep getting your fears and anxieties off your chest by sharing with someone who cares.
  • Practice proven techniques like yoga, meditation, deep breathing etc. that help bring down stress levels.
  • Try and maintain a systematic study schedule, review whatever you have studied, and give yourself positive strokes on the portions or chapters you have already mastered.
  • Do not compare yourself to others, particularly those who score better marks than you.


Despite your best efforts, if at the last moment you find that some of the above mentioned symptoms are developing in you, do not ignore them. At the first sign of any of the stress symptoms, become pro-active. Do not feel shy to tell your parents and seek help. The earlier they are nipped in the bud, the easier it will be for you to overcome them.

Image Credit: nist6ss, cc-by-sa-2.0, flickr.com

At the first signs of trouble, take these steps

  1. Consult your doctor and take any medicines, pain killers or vitamins that he may prescribe.
  2. Sit with someone knowledgeable and describe your symptoms clearly and in detail. Try to "feel" those symptoms and label them. Check that these symptoms have occurred only just before the exams. It is amazing how talking out to someone who cares can reduce the intensity of the problem.
  3. Prepare yourself for the worst. Tell yourself that (1) if you do not go for the exam, you are definitely going to fail, (2) if you go for the exam you may either fail or pass. So what is the better alternative?
  4. Do not feel ashamed of the threat of failure. Tell your parents that you will still attempt the exam and in the worst case you will not be able to do well. Everyone will understand if your results are poor only because you had fallen sick at the time of exams, and no one will look down upon you.
  5. Go for the exam. Push yourself if necessary. Take someone with you for support. Carry some water, juice or even Glucose powder. Tell yourself that if the symptoms become very bad, you can always walk out of the examination hall.

Once you go and give the exam, you will find your symptoms miraculously reducing, and you will inevitably discover that despite all that had happened to you, you did far better in the exam than you had feared. Then sit back, relax and enjoy yourself. Prepare yourself for the next academic year by taking up in advance some good, regular and effective stress relieving techniques. Nithin could do it, and so will you.

Career Guidance

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