PCA's to Reduce Risks from Environmental Allergies when sitting your Exams

PCA's to Reduce Risks from Environmental Allergies when sitting your Exams

If you have an exam coming up and have an environmental allergy to pollen, dust mites, pets, insects, or mould, there is a chance you may experience symptoms while sitting your exam.

Having an allergic reaction during your exam can be inconvenient, distracting, uncomfortable and severe based on the severity of your symptoms.

Personal Contingency Actions are key routines you can take and set up to reduce placing yourself into risky situations.

Below are 10 Personal Contingency Actions you can take to reduce risks from environmental allergies when sitting your exams-

Please note these are overall actions, and you may need to adapt them specifically for you based on your allergies.


1. Make sure your level coordinator or teacher/lecturer is 'Allergy Aware' of your environmental allergies before you sit your exams.

2. Ask your school or your educational institution if they can organise specific preventative seating arrangements for you while sitting your exam.

Depending on your allergy, preventative seating arrangements may include:

  • Sitting your exam in a room with an air purifier
  • Sitting your exam away from the windows
  • Sitting your exam in a non-carpeted room
  • Cleaning your exam desk (and the ones nearest to you) before your exam, etc

3. Take your known treatments or preventatives such as antihistamines, nasal sprays, eye drops, etc before you sit your exam. If you're unsure, please speak to your GP, so they have you prepared.

4. Carry your medication in a small and easily identifiable transparent pouch or a zip-lock bag.

5. Carry other symptom management items such as tissues, water, face masks, wipes, etc. Also, place them in an easily identifiable transparent pouch or a zip-lock bag.

6. Carry your Visual Allergy Alert, such as your My Allergy Card.

Arrive 5-10 minutes earlier to meet your examiner to make them allergy aware

7. Introduce yourself to the examiner, Show and Tell them about your allergies, what your emergency medication is and what symptom management items such as tissues, water, face masks, wipes, etc, you have with you.

8. If you have a pre-exam seating arrangement (seating away from windows, non-carpeted room, etc) ensure the examiner places you in the right spot and the right room.

9. Check with the examiner if they will let you have your medication and symptom management items near you or, if not, where they will put them (for you to access if needed during the exam).

10. Check with the examiner that the other examiners/supervisors are "Allergy Aware" of your circumstances. This is to avoid having to explain your situation during the exam and for them to know what to do (or to help you with) in the case of a reaction.

After completing the above, we hope that you are prepared and will be safer when sitting your exam. All the best👍

These are some Personal Contingency Actions you can take when sitting exams with an environmental allergy.

Speak to a GP if you need to know more about treatments and speak to your school or your educational institution to understand what they can set up specifically for you, so you are reducing risks and can sit your exam in a safer manner.

The information provided on Allergy Life Australia is to generally educate and inform you about living with allergies, intolerances and conditions, and is not intended as medical instruction or as a substitute for diagnosis, examination and advice by a qualified health care provider.

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