We’re in exam season, when the Junior Cert and Leaving Cert will dominate the lives of young people and their families across the country. This 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 which will hopefully help you in the next couple of weeks. You will also be able to read some first hand advice from Emily on how she survived the Leaving Cert.
During the exams
Keep talking and sharing with someone you trust about how things are for you 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 energy 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.
After the exam
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.
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.