With exams fast approaching it can be a stressful time in any household but when someone lives with arthritis, it can make things a little more challenging.
We’ve put together some tips and information together ahead of the exams starting and also a blog from one of our Youth Leaders on how she survived the Leaving Cert.
Top tips in the weeks leading to the exams
- Set realistic goals for yourself and review what you have covered and what you need to cover regularly so that you don’t get any unpleasant surprises.
- If you are using exam accommodations such as a scribe or laptop, practice before the exams so that it’s not your first attempt on exam day.
- Make sure that you relax, de-stress and have some fun as often as necessary to keep the pressure at a manageable level.
- Make to-do lists; this will help keep focused and organised. Prepare all the materials you need for the exam the night before.
- Coming up to the time of exams ensure that you get enough sleep and avoid studying into the early hours right before an exam as tiredness will make it harder to think and to remember what you know.
- If panic sets in BREATHE, whether it is in the middle of an exam or while trying to sleep the night before, deep relaxing breathing will help to calm your nerves and allow you to get on with it!
During the exams:
Don’t miss out on sleep
Staying up all night might seem like a great idea but getting enough sleep is hugely important especially when you have arthritis. Not only will it help concentration levels but it will also help the body to recover.
Eating well and having a good breakfast will help with enegy levels and fatigue.
Stay hydrated, drink lots of water and make sure to bring a bottle into the exam. We get dehydrated very easily when stressed and nervous!
Get to the exam hall or room early. Not only will it allow you to get set up but it will make things a little less stressful.
It might seem a little obvious but try and test all your pens beforehand. Find a pen that is comfortable to use if you are writing the exam.
Take stretch or movement breaks if you can or at least move your joints at the desk every 20 minutes to avoid cramps and excessive pain.
Ice packs/ heat packs
Bring a supply of ice packs or heat packs into the exam hall if you can.
When in exam mode it’s easy to forget about our routine, remembering to take medication is really important.
Some fresh air and gentle exercise will do you the world of good, even if it is only a 10 or 20 minute gentle stroll.
If you have exam supports, don’t be afraid to make the most of them and use them.
Don’t forget that an unsuccessful exam is not the end of the world; you can try again, do better next time or take a different course, subject level, etc.
If you are heading to third level education, you can make contact with us in Arthritis Ireland and we will be happy to let you know of available supports.
Hear first hand from Emily on surviving exams
My name is Emily, I’m 20 years old, I have Juvenile Psoriatic Arthritis and Fibromyalgia, and two years ago I did my leaving cert.
It’s difficult to know where to start when it comes to things as big as the leaving cert year, but I guess I’ll start it off with a positive. I did it, thousands of other people did it, you can do it, I promise.