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Top tips on how to handle pressure of the Leaving Cert


Good study habits are important for fifth and sixth year students

Good study habits are important for fifth and sixth year students

Good study habits are important for fifth and sixth year students

Well the big day is here and students and parents around the country are feeling the nerves. The next three days will be a challenge for everyone, but student nerves normally settle down after Friday.

Parents and students might find it helpful to remind themselves that the hard part, the long road of study and preparation, is over. Even if students were not 100pc happy with their mock scores, there is every reason in the world to believe that this will improve.

When facing the coming days, students should stay calm and stay positive. They should spend time before each exam going over that subject and refreshing topics. After each exam it is important to move on to the next. Students should avoid wasting time trying to figure out what marks they may have achieved and what marks they may have lost. While parents often want to know the details about how a particular exam went, reflecting on too much detail, when the opportunity to affect the outcome has passed, may create unnecessary stress, which could affect performance in other subjects.

For the same reason, students should especially avoid to temptation to have conversations with other students about how they performed.

Once a morning exam is finished, if a student does not have another exam that afternoon then they should take some time to relax and not think about the exam for at least an hour or so. How long the break should be will depend on when the next exam is and how long the particular person may need. Students may need to take a nap, go for a run or walk, or have some lunch to wind down before they can move on to the next subject.

If a student has two exams in the one day there is always a temptation to work through the lunch break. While two exams in one day is a difficult challenge for everyone, brains and bodies will need a rest. Students should ensure that a good lunch is eaten and should take some time away from the books to enjoy the company of others.

Candidates will want a chance to look over their notes before the second exam, but should try to make time for both.

Whether students have a very intense few days with many exams close together or the exams are spaced out, with some large gaps, there will be challenges. This may be to maintain energy or to maintain motivation.

Students should remember that this is the final few moments of something they have been preparing for many years and as difficult as this challenge may be, soon it will pass.

Best of luck to all the Leaving Cert, Leaving Cert Applied and Junior Cert students in the next couple of weeks.

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

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