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My first day of the Leaving Cert will be busy, but I know my study routine will keep me stress-free

ELLIE (18) woke early this morning and got a lift with my mother on the short journey from my home in Dundalk to her school, St. Mary's College.

"I studied until about 9 pm last night before I allowed myself to take a break. I'm trying to avoid watching television while doing the Leaving so I listened to my iPod for a while before getting some rest.

"Today will be a busy day for me as I'm taking English Paper One in the morning and Home Economics in the afternoon.

"English Paper One is always hard to prepare for but I've prepared a few essays that I can hopefully use if the questions suit.

"I'm hoping that the theme of travel will come up as I have some stories from a recent trip to London.


"I've been heavily concentrating on Home Economics for the last day or two because there's so much information to learn.

"I'd love to see a question or two on protein because it's something I've studied well and have an interest in.

"My day will be longer than most students with my second exam finishing at half four so I'm expecting to be really tired later on.

"By the time I get home and have my dinner it will be close to six. I'll be exhausted but I'll have to keep going as there's so much to cover for English Paper Two.

"I'm concentrating on Patrick Kavanagh, Sylvia Plath, Eavan Boland and Seamus Heaney for the poetry questions. Hopefully that will cover me for anything that comes up.

"My single text is Dancing At Lughnasa by Brian Friel. I'll take another look through it tonight but we've covered it fairly well in class.

"It's always tempting to pull an all night study session at this late stage but I don't think they ever work out too well.

"I'm going to stick to my routine of an hour of study followed by a fifteen minute break. It seems to work for me and means I'm not too tired to write when I get inside the exam hall."