Coping With Exam Stress

The Leaving Cert & indeed the Junior Cert is always a stressful time for both parents and students alike. It can cause tension throughout the entire house; however it is a time when the student needs lots of support and encouragement.

 What can the student do to cope with the stress levels?

In order to focus on the task in hand, getting mentally & physically prepared will give them an element of control and help to keep stress and anxiety under wraps.  

How do I know if my child is stressed? What are the indicators?  

Stress can be subtle to begin with and then build up to something that affects you physically, mentally & emotionally. To perform to the best of your ability you need to look after all aspects of your health and also keep on top of your school work and study.

 What are the signs of stress?  

The initial signs of stress are usually physical in nature. Upset stomach, head tension, irritability, and interrupted sleep patterns e.g. waking up unusually early or unable to get to sleep. These physical signs are often followed by stressed emotions or anxiousness and self doubt. This behaviour is particularly unhelpful around exam time, so it is important to attempt to alleviate the stress before this happens. Try to focus on the positives, your strengths and previous achievements. Try to learn from previous mistakes, but try not to over think them.

– Positive thinking and optimism can be effective stress management tools. Self-talk in particular can enhance your performance and general well-being.
– Plan your study time in advance
– Break tasks down into smaller sizes. This way you get a sense of progress.
– Take regular breaks and reward yourself once you complete a task in the allocated time. .

Can some stress be good stress?

Exam stress is totally normal. Small amounts of stress in the short-term, can be good. Stress can stimulate your immune system and it is there to help you cope with difficult situations by making your brain sharper and giving your body an energy boost. Bad stress, however, is the kind that wears you out, leaves you feeling jittery and is harmful to your health   Leaving Cert exams are a prime time for stress to take hold. Tackle it head on and try to identify small ways to reduce it.      

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