Fri | Apr 10, 2020

Tips for students doing exam under trauma

Published:Thursday | April 26, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer

For many students, the examination period equates to severe stress levels, fear, and pressure. Unfortunately, too, there may be some students who are dealing with the death of a loved one, the divorce of their parents, and violence, which can compound the anxiety levels for them.

Counselling psychologist Joan Pinkney is advising students who might experience traumatic events around the time of exams, to express and label their feelings while learning the art of restructuring their thoughts.

"One of the things that you have to do is express how you feel and not push it aside. If it's death or a divorce, speak to your emotions and express them," Pinkney advised. "Those around them (students) also need to let them know that it is okay to feel the way they feel and then help them to manage those emotions.

"It's a matter of accepting that 'I feel this way', but recognising that 'I still need to do the exam'. Some persons make requests for deferrals, but it's not in all cases that you can get that," Pinkney counselled. "The emotions are going to come and go because the incident is still there, but every time you want to go to the incident, you redirect your thoughts. It's not denying how you feel, but it can be done," she said.

Pauline Bain, associate counselling psychologist at Family Life Ministries, believes that the severity of some incidents might be too much for students to manage an examination. She advised, however, that proper mechanisms in both the home and the school would be critical to help such students cope and recover as quickly as possible.

"Traumatic events are absolutely distressing and can affect the students. Some traumatic events can cause memory loss. It can be so traumatic, you don't remember what happened and other circumstances.

"Personally, I have not had anyone (patient) who can manage to do the exam. Some children even decide that they are going to run away from home because it is to0 much," Bain said.