Wednesday 13 December 2017

Leaving Cert 2016 starts today - Avoid post mortems after the exams

Going to college

Aoife Walsh guidance counsellor
Aoife Walsh guidance counsellor

Aoife Walsh

After countless hours of study, worry and doubt, Leaving Cert 2016 finally starts today. As students head out to show off all they have learned, there are a few things to remember about the next couple of weeks that may help them pass a little easier.

First, they should know that any nerves will settle as they meet the challenge ahead.

Most of the hard work is done. Now it is important to maintain balance wherever possible. The Leaving Cert is both a physical and mental challenge and there are a number of things students can do to ensure they are in the best possible position to meet this challenge.

Before each exam, candidates should take time to go over that subject and refresh topics. They should stay positive and always remain in the exam hall until the end of the exam.

While working through each paper students may find information for other questions popping into their head. They should make a make a note of such things in the rough work section and return to add them in later.

Even if candidates feel they have written everything they can, they should reread what has been written and think about each answer. If candidates do remember something once they have left the exam hall it is too late. It is important for the candidate to be able to walk away from each exam knowing that they have truly given it their best.

Once an exam is completed, students should move on and avoid post mortems. Often, we are more likely to remember those question we could not answer than the ones we did well in. Spending too much time reviewing the paper or trying to figure out what mark was achieved will not change the grade - but is likely to increase stress and anxiety or affect future exam performance.

Similarly, avoid other students who may wish to discuss the exam in too much detail. There is always someone who will ask what did you say for this question? What answer did you get for number four? It is likely this person is trying to make themselves feel better: put yourself first and walk away.

After each exam students should take some time to relax, rest and unwind.

How long this break should be will depend on when the next exam is and the individual. They should try taking a nap, run, walk or some lunch before moving on to the next subject. It may be helpful to spend some time with family and friends.

When candidates have two exams in one day there can often be a temptation to work through lunch. Two exams in one day is always difficult, but brains and bodies need rest and fuel to function so candidates should try to make time for this as well as looking over their material.

Very best of luck to the class of 2016.

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

Question: I put a lot of work in completing my CAO correctly in January. Do I have to do a Change of Mind form?

Answer: CAO applicants do not have to make changes to their list, however, I highly recommend that every applicant reviews their choices during the Change of Mind period. Choosing a career or perfect course is not a light bulb moment that occurs at some point during 6th year. Rather, it is a process that is worked through over a number of years. Therefore, it is essential that all applicants review the courses they have listed on both their Level 8 and Level 6/7 lists.

Applicants should ensure that they have a clear understanding of every course they have listed, and be satisfied that they would be reasonably happy accepting an offer for each one. Next, applicants should check that they are happy with their order of preference. It is essential that CAO courses are listed in genuine order of preference only as the CAO will make offers presuming that the form has been completed in this way.

Finally, they should check if any new courses have become available that are of interest. If an applicant has reviewed their CAO and they are happy with the courses they have listed, including the order in which they are listed, then there is no need to make any changes.

Applicants may continue to make changes, as regularly as they like until July 1.

Important dates


Reply to offers by this date for decisions received by May 5 — UCAS


Taster Day, Child Adolescent Counselling and Psychotherapy — PCI College

JUNE 13 

Briefing & Information Session/Hospitality Traineeship — Cavan Institute


Open Evening — IT Tallaght

Info Session, Dublin Open University


Lifelong Learning Information Evening — IT Carlow, Carlow Campus

JUNE 22 

Enrolment Day — Ballsbridge College of Further Education


Virtual Open day — DIT Cathal Brugha Street

Irish Independent

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