Tuesday 22 August 2017

Ten tips to help you prepare for your exams with two weeks to go

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Geraldine Gittens

You've spent the past two years preparing for the Leaving Certificate. Now, at this late stage, panic might be beginning to set in. Have I studied the right topics? Have I covered all of my subjects equally? I can't sleep at night, how can I study enough?

All of these questions might be preying on your mind right now, so we've compiled a list of tips to help keep you calm for these last two weeks of exam preparation.

“The Leaving Certificate in particular is similar to a marathon for which students have been preparing for, directly and indirectly, over their five or six years at post primary school,” Betty McLaughlin, President of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors said.

“All of that is now history. What matters from now until June 8th is how you utilise your time effectively to maximise your performance on the examination day.”

“To perform to your potential on the day you must be in good physical and mental health, so plenty of sleep, exercise and eating the proper food are essential. Utilising the next two weeks efficiently is critical to a successful outcome.”

• Make a study plan now for the next two weeks

• Allocate time to revise each subject area

• Start at a fixed time each day

• “Active” revision: Looking at notes and books does not work. Brainstorm, practise question outlines, practise topic summaries. Remember “practice makes perfect”

• Practice for the exam “skill”, i.e. getting the essential information down in the required time

• Rotate the order of the subjects you study each day

• Practice revision of topics by answering questions from past papers, taking particular note of the marks allocated to each section of the question. A frequent error on the part of students is not taking time to read all parts of the question before attempting to answer it. Students often attempt questions because the can answer part (a) which all too frequently carries the least amount of marks, while failing to check that they can answer the part(s) which carry most marks.

• Take short breaks (a maximum of five minutes) between the subject areas studied

• Every day, take at least 30 minutes exercise - a brisk walk, a swim or a short cycle. You will feel reinvigorated after it and it will help to relieve the clutter in the brain

• Students need energy to perform at their best. Eating healthy food is essential for concentration and sustained performance in the examination centre. (Ask your Mum/Dad/guardian to keep the fridge well stocked, students like to graze)

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