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Dealing with exam results anxiety

If worrying about the exam results is freaking you out; check out these tips.

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

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Waiting for exam results can be a nerve-wracking experience – especially when you are expecting results from exams like the Leaving Cert or college finals.

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. It’s suffering from too much stress that causes the problem so find out more about the signs and symptoms of anxiety and stress here.

There are lots of reasons why you might feel stressed around results time, including:

  • 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. 

What can you do about it?

  • Remember, if you don't get the results for the course you want; there are so many different ways to get to where you want to go. Take the time now to research and think about a ‘Plan B’ in case you don’t get your first choice. Take a look at the different study options which could get you to your chosen career via an alternative route.
  • Your parents and family only want to see you get what you want and what will make you happy. Don't for a second worry about letting them down, they're proud of you no matter what.
  • It is a time where you will make many tough and exciting choices. Make sure you talk them over with someone. Every year the Irish Independent runs a helpline staffed by professional guidance counsellors. Give them a call to talk through your options if you are unsure.
  • Download NUIG’s iPoints app or familiarise yourself with the Points Calculator on, so you don’t make any counting errors on the day.
  • You need to confront the problem and learn how to relax. It’s really important not to let anxiety take over your life. Try to figure out what’s causing the stress and then do something about it.
  • 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.
  • These are only the first steps of your career, nothing you do now will prevent you from changing direction at any time in the future.
  • When you do get your results, try to stay calm and make sure to talk to a parent, teacher or the free guidance counsellor hotline before making any final decisions.
  • Read more about after shcool options, taking a gap year, finding a job or doing a PLC course and apprenticeships.
LC Students/Parents Helpline opens on Wed 12th Aug, 10am: 1800 265165

Tips to reduce stress:

  • Recognise the signs of stress and what you can do about it .
  • Have at least one good friend you can confide in.
  • Express yourself through writing, sport, art, music, fashion, etc. (It’s a great way to relieve tension).
  • Handle life’s challenges one day at a time (Don’t spend 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.

You can also contact the Irish Association for Counselling and Therapy or talk to Samaritans who provide confidential emotional support to people experiencing feelings of anxiety.

Read more about dealing with anxiety and stress here.  

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. Also, check out the anxiety and stress section for more info.

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Published December 11th, 2012
Last updated February 9th, 2016
Tags stress leaving cert exams
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