How to handle exam results anxiety and stress
Find out how to manage your anxiety around exam results time
Waiting for exam results can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially when you are expecting results from exams like the Leaving Cert or college summer exams.
You might feel nervous and stressed leading up to results day, however this is normal and a little bit of stress can actually help you to get motivated for dealing with problems and pressure. If the stress becomes all-consuming and it's hard to take your mind off of it, that's a sign you could be suffering from anxiety.
Stress and anxiety at exam results time
Exams are stressful. First there's the lead up in preparing for the exams, then there's the day of the exam itself, and once it's all over, you'll have to wait to find out how you did. It's understandable that you might be feeling axious around this time.
Why am I so anxious?
Some of the reasons you might be anxious about your results include:
- The pressure to get good results for the course or career you want
- Pressure from parents and family who expect you to get good results
- Worrying about the future and whether you’ll make the right choices for the year ahead
- You might feel overwhelmed by changes such as leaving home, starting a new life, friends moving away or maybe you’re worrying that others are changing whilst you stay the same
These feelings are normal. Your friends are probably feeling the same way, so talk to them about your worries.
How to handle exam results anxiety
There are a number of things you can do to minimise the impact of stress and anxiety around the time of exam results.
Know that failing an exam does not make you a failure
Remember, if you fail an exam you are not a failure - you are still a good person, just a good person who failed an exam. Usually exam failure only means you have to repeat, so there's a delay of plans, which is not the end of the world. Or it may lead to you changing your plans to get to where you want to go by following a different path.
When you do get your results, try to stay calm and make sure to talk to a parent, teacher or a friend about what you want to do next.
Try some relaxation techniques
It’s really important not to let anxiety take over your life. Try using different techniques to help you relax, including breathing exercises.
Here are 9 ways to manage anxiety you can also try.
How to reduce stress at exam results time
Here are some things to try when it comes to reducing your stress levels while you wait for your results.
- Talk to a friend and confide in them about how you're feeling
- Express yourself through writing, sport, art, music, fashion, etc as a way to relieve tension
- Handle life’s challenges one day at a time, and avoid spending all your time worrying about ‘tomorrow’
- Think about talking to a doctor as sometimes it can be good to talk so someone outside your immediate friends and family about things
- Know and accept your strengths and weaknesses
- Strive to change the source of stress and/or your reaction to it
- Remember: Alcohol won’t reduce stress; it will only make things worse
Find out 10 tips for dealing with stress here.
If you need to talk to someone right now, you can contact Samaritans who provide confidential emotional support to people experiencing feelings of anxiety.
If you are at university or college, there is often a free counselling service provided. See Please Talk for information on student support services at all the universities in the Republic of Ireland.