Aoife Walsh: Judge revision on what you want to achieve, not how many hours are spent at the desk
At this stage, many Leaving Cert students may be beginning to regret that the good intentions for study did not come to fruition a little earlier in the school year. This can be especially true for students who found it very difficult to get a good study routine established, but now find themselves being very productive.
Now that they have found a productive way of working, tasks completed in the next few weeks can make a big difference to grades. A little reflection and a good plan will help students maximise every study session between now and the big day. Here are some tips for the final weeks:
Accept time limitations and focus on what can be achieved
We cannot change the past and, perhaps, it will be impossible to finish the course. However, everything that students learn between now and June 6 could, potentially, mean the difference in a grade and add points to the total. You should try to focus on this as you set down to work rather than stress about the amount of work which may be ahead.
Know what you want to achieve
Keep lists of topics or items which you need to cover, 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 and shorter.
If study has finally clicked for you then try and maintain this routine
Study in the same place and at the same time as much as possible. It is better if you can study at home rather than in school or a library, but getting through the work is the most important thing. Try to tidy your study space at the end of each session so you feel happy to return. It is also very helpful to decide what you will work on during your next study session before you leave the desk. This will mean you can get started quickly when you return, while what you need to achieve next is still fresh.
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."
Test and retest yourself
Whether it's covering up your mind map and trying to remember its contents, completing past exam questions or mind mapping what you would write if a question came up. This will reinforce what you have studied as well as giving you a better idea of what you know and what you may still need to work on.
Aoife Walsh is a guidance counsellor at Malahide Community School, Co Dublin