Sunday 25 February 2018

A little study over holidays goes a long way

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

Aoife Walsh

Throughout term one every year, my sixth year students tell me that they find it very difficult to revise. This is not due to lack of effort or ability but because the first term is a very busy one. Students return to school with the best intentions of beginning to revise immediately, however teachers are only half-way through a two-year course and must prioritise getting the courses finished.

This means that students are often subjected to two or more hours of homework and study for class tests on top of a seven-hour day of classes. After all this is done they must try and find some energy to revise. So, it is no surprise that, come Christmas, some students are not where they expected to be in relation to revision. The break is a wonderful opportunity to catch up, as well as to get a great head start on preparation for the "mocks".

Begin early

School finishes on Tuesday, December 22. It may be tempting to take a few days off, but do this and you may quickly find that you have lost a week of studying. Let me explain: if you decide to take two days off, the next two days will be Christmas Day and St Stephen's day. It is highly unlikely that even the most conscientious student will revise on these days and that little break will have turned into five days. It may be a better idea to do some work on December 23 and 24 and have a carefree Christmas knowing you have already achieved a lot.


Planning is the best way to get work done and come away from the study session with a sense of achievement and progress. Whether a student plans by making lists of tasks they wish to achieve or creating timetables of work does not matter; the important thing is that they find what works for them and make a plan. It may be helpful to remember to leave a couple of days to complete work assigned to them by teachers, for example essays, sample exam papers and other forms of homework.

Get it done

Don't let this work hang over you and ruin your holiday. It is important to rest and enjoy time with friends and family as well. Therefore, consider doing your homework and study first thing in the morning. This way you can make the most of your study time and still have time for fun in the afternoon.

In addition, finishing your work early in the day means students are able to enjoy the day with a sense of achievement rather than spending the day feeing stressed.


It is important to spend a little time considering options and doing any additional research they may find necessary.

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

Question: What is the deadline for applying for a PLC courses and how do I apply?

In general, colleges of further education, the usual providers of post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses, do not have closing dates for applications. Once the college opens for application, it will continue to take applications for courses until the course and waiting lists are filled.

The most popular PLC courses will fill quickly so it is essential to apply early. Applications should be made directly to the college (normally online) and colleges normally allow applicants to apply for two courses. Applicants will be invited to interview and, if successful at interview, are likely to be asked for a small deposit to hold the place on the course.

Some PLC colleges are already open for application, including Colaiste Dhulaigh in north Dublin, Ballyfermot College of Further Education in west Dublin and Cork College of Commerce. Interested applicants should check their local college for important dates.

Important dates

JANUARY 5 2016

Dublin Business School - Open Evening

* Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland - Open Day (those wishing to attend should order free tickets at

Irish Independent

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