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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 4 August, 2020

Opinion: The State exams start today – but don't let stress get you down

Stress and pressure are, unfortunately, part and parcel of exams. But there are also simple ways to keep calm and perform well.

Jamie Wiggins

THE STATE EXAMINATIONS are looming around the corner once again. English Paper 1 kicks off the Leaving Certificate and the Junior Certificate at 9.30am this morning. Almost 119,000 students will be either sitting their Junior Cert, Leaving Cert or their final year exams of the Leaving Certificate Applied.

With exams, inevitably comes stress and pressure. These exams have an adverse effect on young teenagers’ mental well-being. With teenagers as young as 14 or 15 expected to sit their Junior Cert exams, they’re being exposed to huge levels of stress that are, in my opinion, not necessary at such a young age. Nevertheless, exams are a key part of life that everyone must overcome, in their own respective ways.

During exam season, we often forget about the humans on the receiving ends of these exams. It is now approaching the second anniversary of my Junior Cert examinations, and these are my tips to surive this testing time!

Eating healthily

A healthy mind is a happy mind. During exams it is very easy to choose the easy option and the unhealthy option when it comes to food, but its best to try to stick to a balanced diet.

Laughing out loud

Laughing is seriously the best cure for anything. You can’t be sad when you’re laughing. It’s scientifically proven (I think). Smiling, even fake smiling, makes you happy. So go forth and laugh your way through your Junior or Leaving Cert.

Don’t engage in exam post-mortem

Although it’s very easy to get caught up in the moments following an exam to start to dissecting things, it serves no purpose in improving your mark and just leaves you asking ‘what if?’


Listening to a few tunes before or after an exam is a fantastic way to allay your exam worries for a few minutes.


Exercise is probably the best way to relieve yourself in exam season, so grab your bike and go cycling around the town with your friends, or play football or basketball. Even going for a walk with your friends will help you to relax. You are always promised great weather because its exam season, so go out and enjoy the weather. You deserve it.

Watching TV

Whether its the new episode of The Game of Thrones or catching up on Breaking Bad, watching TV is a great stress-buster.


SLEEP… I can’t stress enough how important sleep is the night before an exam. Experts recommend 6-8 hours of sleep per night but the more the merrier (as long as you don’t sleep in on the day of your exam!)

I will leave you with a quote “I didn’t say it would be easy, I said it would be worth it”.
Ádh mór and good luck with your exams.

Jamie Wiggins is a 4th year student in Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair.

Read: 11 Leaving Cert fears that will never, ever leave you

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