Welcome to our SOS (Support On Study) blogging series where former EFers share their study secrets with us. This time around we have Kevin Twomey, former EFer, now studying Commerce and French in UCC. Hillarious look at study – to be a fly on the wall in your house during your LC year, Kev……
Greetings Leaving Cert students of 2013.
The Day of Reckoning is fast approaching – only about 13 weeks to go (which equates to around 40-odd cans of red bull, 20-something dodgy mnemonics and at least 2 mental breakdowns) until what most sixth years would consider as being the ‘be all and end all’ of their existence. The important thing to note here is this isn’t the case and that there is life believe it or not post-Leaving Cert. But I’m not going to waste my time trying to convince you otherwise as this time last year (*shivers*) I would not have believed me either. But trust me I’m right….
Instead I’m going to share some advice that you may find useful as you head into the final stretch.
Usually around this time every year students decide that their time might be better spent predicting what’s going to come up in exams as opposed to actually studying for them. The mocks often serve as a stark indication of the impending workload left to cover and so people turn to predictions, which by definition are not definite and the Leaving Certs of 2012 know all too well about this. The gasps that ensued following the realisation that neither Sylvia Plath or Seamus Heaney had come up on English Paper 2 last year still haunt me to this day. Plath and Heaney were deemed sure bets so many students only studied those two. These students then had to spend the first 15 minutes of the exam trying to calm themselves whilst others were recovering from mini-sicks. Don’t put yourself through the trauma on the day – always study at least the bare minimum, which with poetry for example is 4 poets. You’ve spent the past 2/3 years studying for this exam: don’t throw it away for the sake of something you ‘thought might come up.’
The Leaving Cert is both a mentally and physically demanding ordeal and this means that you must take proper care of both your physical and mental health throughout the year if you want to succeed. Kill two birds with the one stone by going for a walk with a friend during breaks from study. The chat will help lift your spirit and the fresh air will help clear your mind. Eating healthy is also important. It’s very easy to turn to sweets, coffee and fizzy drinks whilst studying as they are likely to provide you with a temporary kick. However the artificial high will soon die down and you will be left feeling even less alert than before. Opt instead for high energy fruits such as bananas or pears but if you can’t shake your sugar tooth then try snacking on chocolate coated peanuts which will make you feel fuller for longer. When tempted just think of the beach bod for Santa Ponsa for some added inspiration…
One of my favourite pastimes during 6th year was rewarding myself at the weekend for the hard work that I did during the week. This more often than not came in the form of a Friday night visit to KCs but if that’s not your thing (unlikely) then there’s other ways of congratulating yourself for a job well done. Go shopping and buy yourself some new clothes or head to the pub with a few friends. Set yourself goals of what you want to achieve study-wise during the week and reward yourself accordingly. But be strict with yourself: if you don’t get it all done then don’t get chips with your creole and aim to get an extra 2-3 hours done before you head out on a Saturday night to make up for the Sunday spent recovering.
Your oral exams represent a significant proportion of marks nowadays and so this should be reflected in the amount of time you spend studying for them. I recorded my answers for both my Irish and French orals on my phone so that I could listen to them whenever I got the bus and at night before I went to sleep. I actually enjoyed listening to them as I used to always give the accent socks and this made me laugh…
Other quick tips: To help learn new vocab for languages I used to take down one new French word on my left hand and one new Irish word on my right hand everyday (though I don’t mind which language you put on either hand – and I don’t know what you’re going to do if you study 3 languages….perhaps try your foot?). This meant that I saw the word several times throughout the day/week (depending on my bathing schedule) ensuring that I actually learned the word. If you follow this simple tip then you’ll have learned 90 new words in each language by the time of the exam!
I am the type of person who gets annoyed/distracted by the smallest and most minute noises so far as to say that I cannot be friends with anyone who does not breathe properly. To overcome this problem whilst studying I bought a pair of industrial ear muffs to drown out all noises and I can safely say that they were the best investment I ever made during sixth year. They’re reasonably cheap to buy and you can get them in most hardware stores. I grew so attached to mine that I named him Steve and I genuinely cried when he broke. But then my friend and former EFer Pádraig Wilson McCarthy bought me a new Vajazzled pair for my birthday and I called her Penelope…(Pic to follow)
Good luck with these last few months and just remember that it’ll all be over before you know it and if you want something bad enough then some way or another you will end up doing it!
Don’t take the LC too seriously, sit down, relax, have a cup of tea.