Going to College: Stay on track in the final run-up to the exams but make time to de-stress too
the Leaving Cert is drawing closer, but there is plenty students can do to keep themselves on track and maximise the final weeks:
n Maintain balance - One of the most important things to remember is to keep balance. Students may feel reluctant to leave their study area, but know you have put in hard work up until now and be confident in the knowledge that it will pay off. The Leaving Cert can be an exhausting experience, especially if you have a full load of exams over the first few days.
Therefore, you need to be well rested and ready to meet this challenge, and not burned-out.
Trying to do everything is a difficult thing and everyone struggles to find balance, including most adults, but it is important to find time for exercise, sleep, food, friends and family. Make sure you include time for all of these, every day, to reduce stress levels and to maximise your performance and grades.
Do try and be present with your study as well as your down time, to get the best from both.
* Keep a routine - This may be difficult now that school has finished but it is extremely important. Keep doing school work every day, even when classes finish.
In one way, this is a lovely time of year for Leaving Cert students as awards ceremonies, graduation and other celebratory events take place, but try to remain focused and work around these.
A good idea is to follow your school timetable and get up and go to bed every day as if it was a school day.
* Consider where you lost out in the past - Spend a little time considering the gaps in your knowledge and any weak points in your exam technique.
Take on the advice of teachers and consider mock results. Have all the problems that came up during the year been addressed? Do you read questions carefully or sometimes misread them? Did you have timing problems in the past?
Do you need to provide more detail, longer answers or more specific definitions? Prioritise weaker areas during study sessions and remind yourself of proper technique during the exam.
* Practice, Practice, Practice - It is important to keep learning and reviewing content, but equally important to focus on exam technique and to test yourself. One of the best ways to do this is by completing as many practice questions as possible. Always do these under exam conditions, e.g, stick to the time allowed for each section in the exam and see what can be achieved in this time. Most students have exam papers at this stage, but all past papers and marking schemes are available on examinations.ie.
* Give more time to those exams that begin earlier - Some candidates may have long gaps between exams.
Know that this time can be used to focus on exams that are timetabled for later in the month.
While students should not neglect any subject, it may be wise to prioritise those that come first. However, plan this well to ensure all subjects get the necessary amount of time overall.
Aoife Walsh is a guidance counsellor at Malahide Community School, Co Dublin