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As students demand online exams, what do psychologists think of their mental toughness? Here is w- Edexlive

The online versus offline debate over exams is raging in academic institutions as exam fever grips students across the country. The homogeneity in the decisions taken by the authorities is something that is hardly seen now. Circumstances and context have taken hold of the situations. But what cannot be denied is that academic standards have been hit hard. What’s this Edex Live learned when we spoke to two counseling psychologists who had dozens of interactions with students, parents, and teachers. They provide the status quo when it comes to student psyches and how they can be rolled back to pre-pandemic habits.

Online studies have pushed students into battery saving mode. Academic rigor has waned, advisers say. Alisha Lalljee, a consultant psychotherapist from Mumbai, says, “Many students have been taking exams and studying very lightly over the past couple of years. There hasn’t been much academic work on their part. One student told me even recounted that they had six students gathering in a house and each looking for answers to a few questions and then all copying them.” Saras Bhaskar, a Chennai-based counseling psychologist, identifies the reason why students wishing to take exams online are accustomed to online studies. “Two years of online learning have made students lazy and inactive,” she says.

The issue of using unfair means for online exams is also something that psychologists like Alisha are aware of. “Now, even with the new rules in Mumbai that two cameras must be on during the exam, students have found new ways to copy. Either someone who is not visible to the cameras would call the answers or would write the answers on their legs which are also not visible to the camera,” Alisha describes. Harming her own body due to stress is also a marked worry among parents. called me at night with suicidal thoughts about exam papers he still had to write. Attempts to harm one’s own life have increased as colleges have been firm in their decision to return to offline mode,” she said.

The student psyche can be understood in how students actually hope for chaos in society. As Alisha mentions, “The students I know were actually praying for the third and fourth waves of COVID-19 and they were visibly upset when it didn’t happen. They felt that another year might have been dedicated to online learning. That’s why anxiety levels are skyrocketing among students now.”

When asked how students can be integrated into the normal academic routine of offline classes, psychologists emphasize a smooth transition. “Now there needs to be a proper balance that is good for the institutes and the students. For example, in some schools, the three-hour written exams are now extended to four hours as the authorities recognize that the students have lost touch with the If the students have become accustomed to typing answers, then they can be asked to take online exams at the institutes rather than at home,” says Alisha.

It specifies a method to help students regain their mojo. “One way to cope is to go back two years and try to do a new thing every day you did during offline classes. This could be pasting notes, highlighting points, or maintaining a book for pointers. There would be some change for the better if sustained for two weeks and beyond,” she explains. Saras also identifies returning to routine as a key coping mechanism “Students need to review and redefine their goals as they may have changed in the past two years. In addition, they must be open-minded and flexible enough to change their course of study if necessary,” she explains.

Saras also lists various tips that help students deal with exam stress. “First of all, you have to self-identify that performance anxiety about exams is natural. Usually, it is hard-working people who feel more anxious than smart-working people. It is essential that students read the instructions online as there is no proctor to clarify their doubts, moreover, they also need to record the answers after answering each question as sometimes the system may fail and all marked answers may be lost. Students should keep a spreadsheet handy to do calculations as their mental capacity may be rusty and therefore not entirely reliable during the rush of the exam,” she mentions.

Alisha also clarifies the crucial role of parents in preparing children. She says “For parents, I ask them to make sure their child is engaged in three to four hours of productive work every day. But expecting 12 or 15 hours of schoolwork is unreasonable and won’t help. They should also ensure that there is no difficulty such as bullying at school or college. Mood swings and friendships should also be looked at to prepare children and not only evaluate them through their report cards. Communication is key because I have seen students get defensive and make fun of their parents . Ultimately, they have to be made aware that parents are also looking for their betterment.