Exam Time – hints and tips to get you through
Tue, 24 May 2016

As part of our series of promoting positive mental health, exam time is just 2 weeks away and is a time when stress levels can be higher than usual. While a bit of stress can help you to stay motivated and focused, too much of it can be pretty unhelpful.


If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you might find it helpful to talk to a teacher or counsellor. It’s also important to ask for, and accept, support from your family if you can. This support might be practical, like picking you up from the library, or emotional, including advice or help. If you need to talk to someone outside of your close circle of family or friends, refer to the many positive mental health resources here on the Club website.  Please feel free to add your hints and tips on the Facebook page.


Here are our tips to help you -

Avoid Exam Stress:

Remember that some stress is normal, here are some tips for avoiding stress during exam times.

    - Eat Well:  Food rich in vitamins and proteins, such as green leafy vegetables and fresh fruits, are a must. The nutrients will help your brain stay sharp. Your brain needs healthy sustaining fuel to get through this busy time. Also, try to get some form of exercise. Even a 10 minute walk will leave you calmer and more focused.
    - The power of positive thinking – Spend time with people who have a positive effect, it will rub off on you. Avoid negative thoughts, such as ‘Everyone else seems better organised, while I’m struggling.’
    - Practice relaxation techniques – Practice deep breathing, meditation and yoga as forms of relaxation. They help your body relax and reduce stress. Alternately, take a brisk walk in fresh air after your day’s revision is over.
    - Don’t leave yourself without time to study – If it’s too late for that and you’re cramming, then listen to your body and rest when you need to. Otherwise you’re risking burn out.

    Exam Day:

    - Fuel Up – Make sure you get a breakfast if you have a morning exam, you will be able to concentrate more, don’t forget to bring in a bottle of water with you.
    - Checklist 
    – Follow your checklist ensuring you have everything you need to bring to the exam including ID cards and writing materials.
    - Time – Set out a timetable for the exam. Allow time at the start to read the questions, choose if there are options and plan your answer. Set a strict time limit per question and keep to it even if you do not get all your points covered for a given question. Leave time at the end to review your answers and complete any unfinished answers.
     - Read the Questions – Read every question twice before you plan your answer, underlining the key words such as compare, contrast, describe and explain.
    - Don’t panic
     – You have done as much as you can so deep breaths and concentrate.  If you are struggling with your nerves try some chamomile tea or rescue remedy.
     - Read Answers – Once you hand up your paper you cannot change it so reread your answers and double checks any figures or statistics.
    - Take a break – Sometimes the pressure of the exam hall can be too much. Take a two minute break, ask to use the restroom or go outside, take a deep breath and return to the hall to start again.
    - Make sure you have answered what you were asked – The front of the exam paper should detail how many questions you need to answer. Double check you have answered all the parts you needed to and that you answered what was asked i.e. to compare two topics or contrast two topics.


    Useful Links for articles on Managing Exam Stress & Study Tips:

    Dr Ciara Kelly on exam stress - despite the big build up you'll be grand and you'll get exactly where you want to be – Irish independent

    5 tips to help you combat exam stress - Irish Independent

    10 tips to help you prepare for your exams with two weeks to go – Irish Independent

    Exam stress - BBC.co.uk

    Managing exam stress - Reachout.com

    Hints for effective studying - Reachout.com

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