Parents need to watch exam children's anxiety


PARENTS SHOULD be mindful of their children’s anxiety at exam time, whether they live with a highly motivated or an unmotivated student, experts at St Patrick’s hospital, Dublin, have said.

For highly motivated students, “the task may be to try to instil some sense of balance and perspective”, said nurse manager Colman Noctor. Good mental health requires balance and motivated students “are usually highly ambitious and can put themselves under tremendous stress to perform”.

The best a parent can do for an unmotivated student is “encourage the benefits of putting the work in, even at this late stage, and avoid overzealous bargaining, threats or nagging” which often have the opposite effect.

HeadsUp, Rehab’s mental health project, has developed an exam survival guide for students, available at

Project manager Collette Ryan offers the following tips:

Eat well:Try to have three healthy meals a day and the occasional treat.

Sleep well: Get a good night’s sleep to recharge your brain. Keep the area where you work separate from where you sleep.

Relax:Take a break between revision sessions and make time to relax, do some exercise or listen to some music.

Recognise stress:If things are getting on top of you, try leaving the room and doing something else for a while.

Be organised: Ensure you have everything you need for the exams – pens, pencils, calculator.

After the exam:Recap but don’t torture yourself by going through each question with your friends.