The countdown is on – here is what you can do this week
There is one week left to the start of Leaving Certificate exams. The two-track approach to assessment means that there was a great focus on preparing for accredited grades in the final weeks and months of school. Now the exams must be front and centre.
If you have not already done so, it is essential that you spend time going over the changes which have been made to the exam papers. These were introduced to ensure that candidates who were unable to complete the course as a result of school closures could answer the questions and show their ability based on what they had covered. This means that, in some cases, the layout of the papers may be a little different from the past papers that candidates have been using. The modifications are focused on the level of choice candidates have in each section. The style of questions and answers required remain the same.
Candidates do not want to waste any time answering extra questions that are not required. Also, they should be aware of where their choices lie and what should be prioritised during revision.
For those regretting that their good intentions for study did not come to fruition a little earlier, it is important to attempt to let go of such thoughts. Make a list of work that needs to be done, work through it and tick items off as each one is achieved. Prioritise subjects that will be examined early, such as English, but be careful not to neglect those on the timetable for week two.
Those who have been working diligently may find that now is the time to focus on their flashcards, recall and double check their exam techniques.
Students should maintain good balance in order to maximise productivity and reduce stress. It is essential to attend to the basics of eating well, good fluid intake, seeing friends, and exercise.
Many parents are desperate to help their young person through this difficult couple of weeks. They can do so by keeping the tea, biscuits and snacks coming, providing good dinners and supportive chats during breaks.
On the night before an exam students should look after the basics: organise your bag, uniform or clothes, materials etc. The less you have to do in the morning, the better. Parents who are trying to help might make breakfast or offer a lift.
A good night’s sleep is essential before an exam. All students should ensure that they finish their study early on the evening before. A walk, cycle or run can be extremely helpful in switching off the mind. If there are a few points to look over before the exam, it is better to get up early than stay up late the night before.
The best of luck to the class of 2021. It has been the most challenging senior cycle. Now is the time to show off what you have learned.
Aoife Walsh is a guidance counsellor at Malahide Community School, Co Dublin