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How to support a friend doing exams

Some ideas to help over the next few weeks

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in education

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It’s that time of year where you might have a friend doing the Leaving or Junior Cert and you can see the wave of anxiety that pours over them during the two weeks of June.

It can be hard to know how to help or offer your support during this time but half the battle is letting them know you’re there.

Things that can be helpful include:

  • Knowing their timetable. If you are familiar with their schedule, you know when it might be a good time to stop by for a chat or when it’s not.
  • Bring goodies. If your friend’s parents are working during most of the exams, then your friend probably isn’t paying too much attention to their food intake if they’re studying a lot. Visit with some healthy snacks in tow like blueberries, nuts, dark choc or a kinder surprise!
  • Chat about their last exam but not too much. It’s good to talk things out especially if they feel an exam didn’t go too well but there’s no point dwelling on it so try to steer the conversation on to the challenges ahead if they want to.
  • Go outdoors. If you think your friend has been cooped up for too long, try to bring them for some fresh air and go for a bit of a walk, even if it’s just to the local shop for some of those healthy snacks!
  • Be their study bud. Some people work well alone when it comes to study but others can work differently. Offer to do some Q&A style study with them if they feel like changing up their pre-exam crams.
  • Don’t indulge the drama. It can be easy to get sucked into the ‘end of the world’ conversations about whether or not your friend will get 600 points or their first choice or so and so wrote 10 pages in their exam today. Remind them that all they can do is their best and there are plenty of ways to do the courses and jobs they want to do that aren’t necessarily through the CAO.
  • Go to the exam centre. If your friend doesn’t have anyone bringing them to the exam hall, offer to go with them. Sometimes it can be the hour before an exam when stress can really take over so if you can help keep the nerves at bay, do! Meet them on the lunch or for the walk home.
  • Talk to their parents. It can help to chat to your friend’s family during exam time and see how they are feeling about how your friend is dealing with exams. If you are worried about your friend, let their parents know so that they are also aware of how your friend is feeling.
  • And remind them to take a deep breath if they’re feeling anxious before or during the exams. It’s a small thing but it can help!
  • Get them on social media. Try not to disturb your friends too much on whatsapp and social media (and don’t be insulted if they’re not getting back to you), but the odd post or message with encouraging videos, memes and pictures could be a good idea!

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Published June 3rd, 2015
Last updated March 30th, 2017
Tags leaving cert junior cert
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