How To Deal With Exam Results Anxiety

To survive the next week we’ve got some tips

You might have spent the summer blocking out your looming Leaving Cert exam results, but with just over a week to go, there’s no ignoring it now.

The countdown until LC results day is well and truly on, and we doubt there’s a student up and down the country not feeling the pressure right now.

Anticipating the big day can be anxiety-inducing, and that’s a normal response. However, if your worrying is feeling a little all-consuming right now it might be time to turn your attention elsewhere.

To survive the next week we’ve got some tips to help you put your results to the back of your mind while you wait.

Practise self-care

Self-care really is one of those buzzwords of the 21st century that’s used so much it’s almost lost meaning. BUT, we’re asking you to push past this and actually give it a try.

Indulge yourself in whatever you, it could be the cliché face-mask and bubble bath, or it could be something as simple as ordering a takeaway and sending your friend memes. By making time for yourself and the things you enjoy you won’t spend so much time consumed by worries and fears of results day.

Make peace with not getting what you want

Before you go in to collect your results think about how you would feel if things don’t go according to plan. You likely have very high expectations for yourself and sometimes it’s just not possible to meet those. You might want to get 450 points but the reality is that this might not happen for you.

To avoid feeling completely let down if you don’t get exactly what you want, make a backup plan. Maybe your points are slightly off, meaning you won’t get your first-choice course. But that’s okay because you found a PLC course that’s equally as exciting and can lead you on to good things anyway. Having a plan b will mean that your anxiety will be a little more at ease because you’re not relying on one outcome.

While you’re at it, change your mindset

What’s the first thing you would do if you failed a test? We’re guessing beat yourself up. Getting down on yourself is a natural response to failing, but it doesn’t have to be your only response. Failing an exam, or not getting the results you want doesn’t make you a failure. You’re still a funny, kind, and smart person, no exam results can take that away from you.

Society has conditioned us to think that performing well in school is the only way to succeed. Of course, it’s important to try your best, but one bad result doesn’t change who you are. In a couple of years’ time, you probably won’t even remember that science exam you flunked or the D you got in French when you wanted a B. In fact, when I sat my leaving cert I received a C in English when I was working towards a B, and now, I’m a writer. So change your mindset and know that letters on a piece of paper don’t define you.

Steer clear of your stressed friends

We all have that one friend who can’t keep it together when it comes to school stress. The same ones who were texting you the night before the exams panicking that they forgot to study an entire section will be the very ones that you might need to avoid at this time. It’s likely you already feel stressed and worried as it is and listening to another person panicking too can sometimes only spike your anxiety more.

For the next couple of days try to have minimum contact with your stressy friends. You can do this by gently saying no to making plans or ‘forgetting’ to text them back. Or you could be honest and let them know that you’re feeling rocky about your results and need the week to prepare for them on your own.

Instead, get a support system you can rely on 

If you’re feeling anxious or nervous about what the results will be, it’s really important to share this with a parent, guardian, teacher or someone you can trust. If you’d like support on the day, but you know that your parents will be working or your siblings are usually out and about on a Friday, don’t be afraid to ask someone to be around for you.

Whether you get good, bad, or indifferent news, it can come with a lot of emotion and it can really help to have someone there will you to express all these feelings with. If you feel you need someone to talk to outside of your friends and family, you can use services like 50808, a brilliant texting service that is free, anonymous, and available 24/7. The volunteers at the other end of the phone will provide support, patience, and a kind ear to discuss any and all of the feelings you may have.