If you’re feeling anxious about state exams, you’re not alone. Many students come to Jigsaw because they’re overwhelmed about the upcoming Leaving Cert and are experiencing exam stress.

Some sixth year students feel dread about the exams. They feel they are always hanging over them. It doesn’t help that the media, teachers and parents all seem talk about the Leaving Cert and the ‘points race’ too.

Why we feel stress and anxiety around state exams

If you’re feeling stressed and under pressure, ask yourself is: where is this pressure coming from?

We can soak things in from our environment and the people around us, even without realising. Sixth year can feel like living in an echo chamber where all people talk about is exams.

There is probably a huge focus on exams in your school. It is the school and the teacher’s job to teach and to make sure their classes learn. Their teaching is ultimately measured by the exams. This narrow focus makes it seem like preparing for exams is the only thing that deserves your time and attention. That would stress anyone out.

It doesn’t help if your friends are living in the bubble too. Maybe your group chats have been taken over by chats about homework and essays and study plans.

Parents and guardians put pressure on students too, sometimes even without meaning to. When they ask how you’re getting on with your revision, they think they are just making conversation. But for a student it can feel like another set of people with high expectations.

Your parents or guardians might feel it’s their duty to remind you to study, but they don’t realise you’re getting reminders to study all day in school.

When all these come together, it can be overwhelming for some young people.