Aoife Walsh: How to use the Christmas holidays wisely
Everyone will be looking forward to the Christmas break but, of course, this is also the perfect time for catching up on work that has piled up. So here are some good tips to keep on top of things while also enjoying the holidays:
Leaving Cert year is a long year, and it is essential that every student takes time over the holidays for proper rest and recuperation. During the break, do not do too much of any one thing. Spend time with family, spend time with friends, exercise, study and enjoy the celebrations, but all in moderation.
It can be hard to get back to study after a break for the festivities, so introducing a routine during the holiday period is essential. Students should try to keep up the work habit this weekend and get back to it the day after St Stephen's Day. Starting early each day, students can complete a great deal of work before taking the afternoon off. This can be a great time to focus on areas that have been difficult to fit into the weekly study routine, such as practising essay writing and completing practice exam papers. Always decide what will be covered during a study session before sitting down to work, and judge success on the work completed rather than the time spent at the desk.
Revision courses can be a great way to kick-start exam preparation and review fifth-year work. Many students find they give them a focus, but they are expensive. Some teachers will be spending this week reviewing work and students can use this to find similar focus.
A number of institutions, such as National College of Ireland and Griffith College, will run free day-long revision courses in spring.
The CAO closing date is February 1, while students applying to UCAS must have their application completed no later than January 15. It is imperative students use the holidays to ensure they understand the content and requirements of all courses for which they are planning to apply. Also, CAO applicants need to be giving serious consideration to the order of preference of course choices.
Aoife Walsh is a guidance counsellor at Malahide Community School, Co Dublin.