Don't get carried away with 'mocks' results
Many Leaving Certificate students are sitting their 'mocks' in school around the country at this time. When they get their results, they will anxiously convert their grades into points, wondering how they match up against the points for the courses they have applied for.
Should they do this? It is hard to stop them although, as most students know, the points required in any given year are not set in advance, but are determined by the supply and demand of places on the particular courses in the year in question. So last year's points are only a guide.
The 'Mocks' are just a dummy run, so students should not set too much store by the points they score.
But they are useful in helping students assess their standard, and to see where they may need to improve their performance in some subjects.
There are 13 weeks (three calendar months) to go until the beginning of the real thing, with the start of the written State examinations on June 8.
A huge amount of work can be done in 13 well-organised weeks.
The secret of exam and study success can be reduced to the three important concepts: positive attitudes, motivation, and organisation.
Success in any enterprise begins in the mind of the individual. Develop positive mental attitudes about what you have to do.
Tell yourself: "I can do it". Eliminate negative thoughts. Concentrate on how much you know. Give yourself credit for the successes you have enjoyed so far. Avoid destructive self-criticism.
You must believe that you can achieve your ambitions. This is a crucial point. If students believe that they cannot reach their goal, they feel doomed to failure from the start.
Be realistic in your expectations. Do not overestimate, or underestimate, your own abilities. One extreme can be as dangerous as the other.
Do not be afraid to aim for the stars, but make sure you have reasonable and satisfying alternative goals in mind.
It is very important to keep an open mind about other options, ranging from Level 8 or Level 7/6 courses in colleges applied for through CAO, to a wide variety of opportunities in the further education sector outside of CAO.
Open days in the coming week: Most of the open days are in the further education sector. l Today, Bray College of Further Education, Bray Co Wicklow, hosts an open day from 1.30pm to 4pm. l Also today, St Sheelan's College of Further Education, Templemore, Co Tipperary, hosts an open day from 11am to 3pm. Tomorrow, Castlebar College of Further Education (CCFE), Castlebar, Co Mayo, hosts an Open Day from 4pm to 7pm. l Also tomorrow, Enniscorthy College of Further Education, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, holds its open day. l On Saturday, March 11, Carlow Institute of Further Education hosts its open day. l Also on Saturday, Engineers Ireland's STEPS Programme hosts a seminar at the headquarters of Engineers Ireland at 22 Clyde Road Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, from 11am to 1pm, entitled Young Women Engineers Of The Future, with the aim of helping post-primary school girls to find out more about engineering from a panel of women engineers. For further information, check out: www.steps.ie or phone 01 665 1340