Wednesday 23 January 2019

Sleep, ditch the phone and don't smell the coffee, is the advise from principals

Bill Browne

Get plenty of sleep, put down the phone and enjoy the small things in life. 

That's the advice from the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals to Leaving and Junior Cert students as they begin what will for most be the most stressful few weeks of their short lives.

With students at schools all across Cork sitting down for their exams this week, the association's director, Clive Byrne, has said there were five keys steps that they can take "to keep calm and stress free."

As is by now tradition the summer sunshine has well and truly arrived just in time for the start of exams and while most of us are out enjoying the fine weather others have been cooped up indoors getting some last minute study in. 

"However, with a few tricks and a bit of strategy surviving the last few weeks of the school year does not have to difficult of stressful," said Mr Byrne. 

He has shared some keys tips with students that will help them have  "successful and anxiety-free" exams. 

"Getting a good night's sleep before an exam is undoubtedly the most important thing that you can do. Don't waste time cramming until the wee hours. Not only will you wake up absolutely exhausted, you will have immense difficulty recalling any information in the exam hall," said Mr Byrne. 

"You need a good eight or nine hours before an exam. So, close the books shut off your phone and get to bed early," he added. 

Mr Byrne also warned against eating 'nutrient space' foods such as crisps, pizza and other greasy and fatty items and drinking caffeine drinks. 

"While a cup of coffee or an energy drink will give you a brief buzz, you'll crash later. Drink too much over a period and your body will be come dependent on it. Remember, you won't be able to satisfy your caffeine cravings in an exam," he warned. 

Mr Byrne urged students to use time between exams to create a tailored study plan and make sure that you find a quiet place to revise in. 

"A study plan is only as good as your surrounding environment. Get away from noisy family members, televisions, computers, games consoles and anything else that might tempt you or get your mind to wander," he said. 

"If you find yourself getting cabin fever try studying outside or, if you are really struggling, consider setting up shop at your local library."

 His final and arguably most important piece of advice to students was to de-stress. 

"Exams can be an immensely stressful time and while you should be working hard, you shouldn't be pushing yourself to the edge of a nervous breakdown. You need to be calm and collected on the day," said Mr Byrne. 

"You simply will not be productive if you are locked away like a monk in a cell studying for 12-hours a day. So reward yourself by taking regular breaks, and doing something that you enjoy like talking a walk, listening to music of just chatting with family and friends. 

"Finally, we would like to wish all students sitting exams the very best of luck," he added.