National FRC Mental Health Promotion Project
Stress Levels can be higher than usual around exam time.
While a bit of stress can help you to stay motivated and focused, too much can be unhelpful, overwhelming, and exhausting.
If it all seems to be getting too much, there are things that you can do to keep calm.
KEEP A ROUTINE AND TAKE REGULAR BREAKS
It’s important to have regular study breaks and make time for relaxation and exercise.
Going for a walk, run, or to the gym is not a waste of time.
It’s a great way to clear your head and can help you refocus.
Caffeine and energy drinks can give you a short lift.
But they’re not good for you in the long term.
They can make you feel sick and can interfere with your sleep and your ability to concentrate.
You study better with regular breaks.
Getting lots of sleep and exercise are also important.
LOOK AFTER YOURSELF
It’s easy to let exams get on top of you and to forget to look after yourself.
If possible, try to get a good night’s sleep.
It’s a good time to make an effort to eat healthily, and get regular exercise to clear your mind and relieve stress.
External pressures around exams can be huge.
These can be hard to deal with, especially with family and people you respect.
You need to remember that it’s your life and your exam, with you in control.
- Tips to help you mmanage expectations
- Base expectations on your past performance and doing the best you can do.
- Put the exam in context. In the overall scheme of things, how important is it?
Use the expectations of yourself and others to assist your studying.
If you don’t do as well as you’d hoped there are always alternatives.
It’s not going to dictate whether your are a good or a bad person, or whether you are a success or failure.
Exams can’t measure these sorts of things.
All they measure is how well you can present the material asked for by the examiner.
They are nothing more, nothing less.
ASK FOR AND ACCEPT SUPPORT
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you might find it helpful to talk to a teacher, lecturer, or counsellor.
It’s also important to ask for, and accept, support from others.
This support might be practical, like picking you up from the libary.
It could also be emotional support, including advice or help.
OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE
If you are doing the Leaving Cert, getting the marks for your first preference is great.
But it’s not the end of the world if you don’t.
There are other options.
It may mean deferring and getting some practical experiences or doing further stufy.
You might consider retaking some subjects, or trasferring in after a year or two.
If you do not accept another offer, you may find it suits you bettter.
LEAVE THE STRESS IN THE EXAM HALL
There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Exams have a beginning and an end, and the stress that goes along with them should end with the exam.
Once the paper’s in, there’s nothing more you can do about it.
You should just try to relax afterwards.
If you need to talk to someone outside the situation, you can call: