How to deal with exam stress

Turn2Me offers free online support groups for students and parents

National mental health charity Turn2Me has published seven tips on dealing with exam stress on its website, ahead of the upcoming Leaving Cert. The charity said that these last few days before the Leaving Cert are crucial for students to prepare to perform to the best of their abilities, but emphasised that this can only be done when they also take care of their mental health.

“When you don’t take care of your mental health as you prepare for a stressful period, it’s like trying to start a car without fuel,” said Fiona O'Malley, CEO of Turn2Me. “Good mental health practices and good study practices need to work in tandem, hand-in-glove. Procrastinating is no good, and pushing yourself to breaking point is no good either. Students need to use the time they have left before the Leaving Cert wisely, and this means incorporating good mental health practices into their study routine.”

Turn2Me’s seven tips on dealing with exam stress include:

Create a study timetable and stick to it. Things seem less daunting when you have a plan in place. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Take regular breaks. The brain works better when you take a five-minute break every hour, and you also retain more information.

Write revision notes and flashcards.

Stay hydrated and eat healthy foods.

Deep breathing. Inhale for a count of two to four seconds, hold for four to six seconds, and exhale for four to six seconds. Find a combination that works for you, but try to exhale longer than you inhale.

Go for a jog or a walk in the morning to wake the body and mind up. Do yoga or stretching in the evenings to improve sleep quality.

Students and parents who are feeling overwhelmed or stressed about the Leaving Cert can join the Turn2Me free online support groups.

The Turn2Me Leaving Cert students' support group will run on Wednesdays at 6pm, and the Turn2Me Leaving Cert parents' support group will run on Thursdays at 6pm. To sign up, go to


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