Exam Stress

Grades are not the end

Written by Nivedita Garg
Published: April 24, 2022

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Founder of Joyful Parenting, NLP practisioner, YALE, Harvard & UC San Diego certified personal coach with over 10 Years of experience in helping individuals beat stress and lead joyful lives

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I Failed My Exam” 

Students’ fear of failing exams is a troubling issue and has become concerning for families. It is important to overcome failure in exams courageously because it can be a major source of depression for students, and can even lead to complete failure in exam motivation. Grades are not a complete assessment of your child’s intelligence and they can live successful lives despite low grades.

Today, people with successful careers require a different skill set which has nothing to do with exam scores. They need to be able to manage their emotions, be resilient, able to overcome adversity and think straight in stressful situations. They need to pay attention to these life skills. 

It is important for parents to understand that there are nine ways in which students learn and acquire information, called multiple intelligences (MI). Each child has a different combination of these intelligences, which makes them unique. Once you determine your child’s MI, you can help them make career decisions. 

Mathematical – Logical Intelligence

  • Ability to think conceptually and abstractly, and discern logical or numerical patterns.
  • Strong Skills – Problem-solving (logical & maths), experimentation
  • Career choices – Scientists, engineers, accountants, mathematicians

Verbal – Linguistic Intelligence

  • Verbal skills, sensitivity to sounds, meanings and rhythms of words.
  • Strong Skills – Listening, speaking, writing, teaching
  • Career choices – Poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, translator

Visual-Spatial Intelligence

  • Capacity to think in images and pictures, to visualise accurately and abstractly.
  • Strong Skills – puzzle building, painting, construction, fixing and designing objects
  • Career choices – Sculptor, artist, inventor, architect, mechanic, engineer

Musical Intelligence

  • Ability to produce and appreciate rhythm, pitch and timbre.
  • Strong Skills – music performance, music composition
  • Career choices – Musician, disc jockey, singer, composer

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

  • Ability to have coordination between one’s mind and body.
  • Strong Skills – Dancing, sports, hands-on experimentation, acting
  • Career choices – Athlete, PE teacher, dancer, actor, firefighter

Intrapersonal Intelligence 

  • Capacity to be self-aware and in tune with one’s inner feelings and thinking processes.
  • Strong Skills- Reflection, introspection
  • Career choices  – Researchers, theorists, philosophers

Interpersonal Intelligence 

  • Capacity to detect and respond appropriately to others’ feelings and motives.
  • Strong Skills – perspective-taking, empathy, counselling, collaboration
  • Career choices – Counsellor, salesperson, politician, business person, minister

Naturalistic Intelligence 

  • Ability to identify and categorise living beings and other objects in nature.
  • Strong Skills – recognition and classification of numerous species of flora and fauna
  • Career choices – Scientist, naturalist, landscape architect

Existential Intelligence 

  • Ability to use intuition, thought and meta-cognition to ask (and answer) deep questions about human existence.
  • Strong skills – Reflective and deep thinking, ability to see the bigger picture
  • Career choices – Scientist, philosopher, theologian

Academic learning cannot be used to determine all the above and is, therefore, not an indicator of your child’s intelligence. You must observe them on a daily basis to determine their skill set, make career decisions basis these skill sets, and use the skill set to improve performance in necessary tasks. For instance, if your child has a high Naturalistic Intelligence, you can take them to parks and other natural settings to stimulate their growth. And, if they also want to pursue architecture, they can fulfil their skill set and their passion by learning landscape architecture. 

In this manner, your child will use their core competence to navigate their weaknesses and make mundane tasks more interesting. Since they will be self-motivated, they are more likely to be successful, while being stress-free. They will be equipped to handle difficult emotions and have more meaningful connections in life. This will improve their mental health, thereby significantly improving their quality of life. 

Your child must also have a developed Emotional Quotient(EQ). EQ is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathise with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. In simple words, EQ determines the skills required to navigate everyday life. With a developed EQ, you will be able to see a different dimension of your child’s personality, and your child will learn the importance of managing their thoughts. 

The Following Can Enhance Your Child’s EQ:

H- Have a family ritual that you all enjoy. Have movie nights, game nights, ice cream nights, cook, or have pedicures. 

A- Assertively convey your opinions, while also respecting your child’s opinion. Allow them to do the same. 

P- Practice listening to your children, without forming an opinion beforehand.

P- Pay attention to your child’s non-verbal cues. 

I- Involve your child in daily household chores. Make shopping lists, go grocery shopping etc. 

N- Name emotions. Once you and your child are aware of your emotions, give and respect each other’s space. 

E-  Each individual has reasons for their behaviour. Understand the other person’s point of view. 

S- Stay calm in stressful situations. Instead of reacting impulsively, calm down and then come back to the situation. For instance, you could drink water, take a walk outside, or repeat the phrase “Golden Sunrise”. 

S- Sit with your child for five minutes every day, just being silent, doing nothing but paying attention to your thoughts. and being silent. A lot of thoughts will pass, just be with them and do nothing

As a parent, your main concern is that children achieve success. Do not worry about exam scores. Focus on developing their IQ, MI and EQ. This will allow them to be academically brilliant and to have more enriching experiences. It will help them manage their emotions and conquer challenges courageously and intelligently, helping them lead happy lives. 

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The views expressed are that of the expert alone.

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