Tuesday 24 January 2017

Every 20 minutes of revision is worthwhile

Going to college

Aoife Walsh

Published 18/05/2016 | 02:30

Guidance counsellor Aoife Walsh
Guidance counsellor Aoife Walsh

The Leaving Certificate exams are fast approaching and many sixth year students are finishing up in school. For the final few weeks, students should come up with an updated study plan; they may need to adapt their revision slightly as the exams draw close, and they will also need to take advantage of the greater amount of time available as they will no longer need to attend school.

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Some students may be regretting not getting into a good study routine earlier. If this is the case, it is time to let go of these regrets. Focus on what is possible, and a lot can be achieved in the next few weeks, so get started.

Students should accept that they may not cover the whole course between now and the exams, however every 20 minutes spent revising could mean an extra couple of percentages on the day. Therefore , every 20 minutes spent revising is worthwhile.

Here are some guidelines:

• Begin a good routine. As much as possible, study in the same location every day. It is better if this is somewhere at home rather than in a library or school to which you may not always have access. Keep this space tidy and clutter free, as we all naturally look for reasons not to begin when we are weary of revising.

• Know what you want to achieve. Keep lists of topics or items that you need to cover, and in order of priority. It can be hugely motivating to tick off each item and it is easy to see what is being achieved as the list gets shorter.

• At the end of each study session decide what will be studied in the next session. This will allow you to make the most of your study time. It will also help you get started when motivation is low.

• Judge your revision on what you would like to achieve and not how many hours were spent at the desk. Revision is not about the amount of time put in, but how productive that time was. There is really no point spending three hours at a desk if most of that time was spent daydreaming or texting. Study is about getting the maximum amount learned in the minimum amount of time. Before you begin set down your task — for example ‘I want to learn three quotes in the next 20 minutes’, \not ‘I will study English for 20 minutes’.

• Once your task is achieved, test yourself. This way, you are not only reinforcing your learning but can end the session knowing that it was worthwhile and you now know something more than when you began.

• Daydreaming is a common complaint from students who find it difficult to revise. It is important to push through this distraction and not to  give up and say ‘I can’t do it.’ Minimise the distractions over which you have control such as phones and alerts. If your mind does begin to wander, acknowledge it and the return to the task without chastising yourself. Remember it happens to everyone, but it is important to carry on.

Aoife Walsh is a guidance counsellor at Malahide Community School, Co Dublin.

Question: I have twins doing the Leaving Cert this year and both are applying for a SUSI grant. Is there anything in particular I need to know about the application process?

Answer: When twins start college in the same year, you approach their applications as two separate applications and apply in the same way as any other candidate. All information is likely to be the same for both individuals and you may be asked to send supporting documentation twice, once for each applicant.

The only difference between their applications and others will be when you reach section D of the process. Then, you will be asked for details of any siblings attending college. For each application you should mark the other twin as attending college even though they are currently still in school. This will mean that the income threshold you must meet will be adjusted accordingly (it is increased for every child in third level).

Once they register for a course in September, you will be asked to submit evidence that each sibling is attending college.

Important dates

TODAY

Enrolment Day — Ballsbridge College of Further Education

Open Evening — Institute of Banking

TOMORROW

Information & Registration Evening — Galway Community College

Student Art Exhibition — Moate Business College

Open Evening — Monaghan Inst of FE & Training

Open Evening — Pulse College Dublin and Galway

MAY 20

Open Day — North Kerry College

MAY 23

Animal Care Interviews (3 Days) — St. John’s Central College, Cork

CAO Careers Evening — University College Cork

MAY 25

Open Day/Interview Day - Killester College of Further Education

MAY 26

Open Night - Bray Institute of Further Education 

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