Absolutely THRILLED with the feedback on our new Guest Blogging series. Imagine – we only came up with this idea a couple of days ago and already we have 6 bloggers who are ready to help you with tips and tricks they learned in college and in Leaving Cert year that they want to share with you!
Our first guest blogger is former EFer – Kaumal Baig who is now studying Dentistry in UCC.
Leaving Cert. Tips & Tricks
For most people Sixth year can seem like a nightmare. Especially when there are a little more than two
months to go and you feel overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do.
The run up to the Leaving Cert is all about giving your best shot with the time you have left. Here are
some tips that might help you get through what seems like a never-ending year!
- Don’t panic – Panicking is just about the worst thing you can do. Instead of actually studying, do you find yourself thinking about what you haven’t done/ how a particular test went/ how much homework you still have to do when you’re already halfway through the night? Focus yourself on what you have to get done, and don’t let your thoughts wonder. If you feel like you’re falling off track, or stressing too much,try talking to your guidance counsellor, or other supportive teachers who may be able to help!
- Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise – Benjamin Franklin didn’t just make that up. In my Leaving Cert year, I found getting in to bed for a good night’s sleep was vital to make sure I was focused in school the next day. When you’re tired, your studying is a lot less effective and you’ll find getting distracted is much easier. I found it was better to get up a little earlier and get things done instead of staying up during the night. Make sure you aren’t losing too much sleep – nothing good ever comes out of it!
- Stay organised – You wouldn’t want to spend an hour the week before your exams shuffling through all your folders looking for notes. So make sure all your material is in the right place to save time when you need it. Also, I remember having so much homework and knowing there was no hope I was going to get through even half of it. The thing to do is prioritise. What’s important right now? What can I come back? That will ensure that the most important things are done in good time before the exams start.
- Make out goals – I found it helpful to scribble down a few things that I wanted to get done before starting a study session. It helps to keep your focus, and any time you get distracted, have a quick look at it to stay on track. Mind you, that doesn’t mean spending an hour writing out goals and colouring them in! They should just be short term goals that you want to achieve by the time you finish studying.
- Don’t leave out too much – Now is the time to make sure that you will have enough learnt to get through each exam no matter what comes up. It’s good crack to make up predictions with your friends about what’ll be on each paper, but never stick to just learning those sections. Of course, it’s hard to learn absolutely everything – we all have things we don’t like. But don’t spread yourself too thin either – it’s too much stress to deal with the night before the exam.
- Orals/Practicals – These are probably looming in the near future for you at the moment. For languages, make sure you practice out loud. I cannot say that enough times! When you go into your oral you need to sound comfortable with what you’re saying and that only happens when you’ve practiced. I know this sounds crazy, but practicing in front of a mirror at home does wonders. Sure, it’s a little awkward at first, but it’s all worth it when your stroll out of your oral feeling great. Another thing that I did was I recorded myself reading out parts of my oral. As you get better, you can hear your own mistakes and note improvements! I did Music, so the practical was a huge 50%. Try to practice your instrument as often as you can, and get the opinion of your music teacher and others to help you perfect your pieces. Just think of the practical casually – as if you’re playing a song for fun or for your friends. It will not only take the pressure off, but let you enjoy it too!
- Lastly, remember that it’s not that long until the Leaving Cert which also means that it’s not too long until the Summer, when you’ll be free at last. Just remember that no matter how your Leaving Cert goes, if you really want to do something you’ll get there in the end. At the end of the day, it’s one of the hardest years of study you’ll have to go through. So why not give the last few months your best shot?
One more cheesy quote to keep you going..
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”