Exams and Your Mental Health
Lots of people feel stressed and anxious when it comes to sitting exams. We’ve gone back into the Meic archives to reshare this guest blog by All My Strength as part of our exam campaign.
Lots of you will be sitting exams this year, many for the first time after exams were cancelled because of Covid. Meic will be sharing lots of blogs and tips over the next few weeks to help you make it through – click here to see
This article is also available in Welsh. I ddarllen y cynnwys yma yn Gymraeg – clicia yma
The exam period is a peak time for feelings of panic and stress. It’s really important to take some time to check in with ourselves and the people around us. Exams are important, but our mental health is more important.
Talking is important
Talking is important for stress relief. Take some time out from revision to talk to friends about how you’re coping. Venting with people in the same position as you is a really good way to get rid of pent-up frustration. Share your strategies for stress relief and staying calm. Let your friends know that you’re there to talk if they feel like the stress and nerves are getting the better of them. Let people know that you’re rooting for them!
Exam stress is not anxiety
When it seems like everyone is stressed and exhausted, it’s easy to forget that people suffering from chronic anxiety are dealing with something completely different from these short-lived feelings that most people feel during exams. For this reason, it becomes a time when it is easy for mental illness to slip under the radar. It is important not to compare exam stress to anxiety as a mental illness. They are definitely not the same thing. If you’re suffering from exam stress, your feelings are normal, and you’re still doing okay.
Mental illness should still be a priority for mental health professionals and support workers and needs to be acknowledged separately from exam stress. It can be frustrating and undermining for someone with a serious mental health condition to have to share the long waiting lists to see doctors and counsellors with people whose stresses will pass as soon as exams are over.
It is equally frustrating and undermining to tell a young person with anxiety that exam stress is to blame for their uncontrollable negative thoughts. Some people are at risk and cannot afford to have their support networks compromised.
Take some time to talk. Remember that exam stress is temporary but don’t let your mental health go under the radar because of it!
Check out the Power Up website for exam and assessment guidance, careers advice and wellbeing tips for learners in Wales. Careers Wales, E-sgol, Qualifications Wales, WJEC and Welsh Government have worked together to create lots of resources to help learners taking exams and assessments this year.
Exams and assessments can be tough on anyone, and sometimes you might need to talk things through with someone so that things don’t get on top of you. If you don’t know who to talk to, Meic is here for you every day between 8am and midnight. Our friendly advisers will listen and offer free information, advice and advocacy in confidence. Contact on the phone (080880 23456), text message (84001) or online chat.