How to have a stress free exam time

It’s not all about exercising the mind.

Written by Siobhán Brady


Are you like me? One of those people who stress out over exams and spend more time doing homework and studying than they do going to school. Well, if you answered yes, here are some useful tips on how to stay healthy and calm during exams.

Exams are just part of the game that we call life, you can't avoid them and you will eventually have to encounter them sooner or later. So if you're like me and you're sitting your Leaving Cert this year, don't freak out, just take things one day at a time.

Make a study timetable

I know it may sound stupid but it has been proven to help. Set aside time for friends, family and other activities, but it is also important that you put in time to study. For example, with me I have had to make a few changes to the things I like to do after school. On a Monday instead of staying at scouts every week till 9.30, I have decided that will happen every second week. This means that I have time to spend with friends one week, but also that I will have time to spend studying. It is all about finding the right balance.

Have a study space

Find somewhere that you are able to go and do your homework and study in peace and quiet, where things won’t distract you and you will be able to concentrate on what you are doing. For some people it is in school with after school study but you might be like me and find it easier to study at home, in my bedroom because that is where I am most relaxed. It all depends on what suits you best as a person.

Take a break

It is not possible to study for 10 hours straight and remember everything you have studied without taking a break. Your mind needs time away from the books, it needs some time to rest. In school, we have 40-minute periods and then a break of 2-3 minutes to make our way to our next class. The reason for that is to give our mind a rest. So if you do it in school you can do it at home too. Study for an hour and then take a 20 to 30 minute break.


Without food your brain won't work right. You won't be able to focus and whatever goes in one ear, will go right out the other. Eat healthy food; avoid alcohol until after your exams. Eat oily fish, also known as brain food. Take time away from study to eat. There is no point putting your health last because let's face it, if you're sick you can't do your exams so all your study will have been for nothing.

Be active

Don't spend all your time inside studying. Go out and do something active, go for a walk or a run. Do a sport or even just go for a walk with your friends. Staying at home studying all day every day during the weekend will not be good for your physical and your mental health. So do your body a favour and give it some exercise, it's not all about exercising your mind you know!


Without sleep you may as well just give up now. Your body and your mind need a goodnight's sleep to work well. They need a break from everything. Without sleep you will be tired, irritable, and cranky and you won't be able to concentrate. It is important to get at least seven hours of sleep a night to keep your body and mind working well.

So there you have it; a few tips to help keep you health during your exams. And for once I am going to practice what I preach and I am going to try my best to follow the tips that I just wrote about above!

Our work is supported by