Study Shark Blog #3 Study Smart not Hard!

Well – this next #StudyShark blog is for all of ye LCs out there – dreading the year ahead!  Matt, from TheLeavingCertBible on Insta has come onboard to share his #NuggetsOfWisdom with ye all.  Matt obtained a whopping 543 points in the LC this year, and is just settling into his new accommodation in Trinity College Dublin, where he is studying BESS (Business, Economics, Political Science and Social Studies).  Over to you Matt …..

Hey! It’s Matt from theleavingcertbible. Just thought I’d let you in on a few tips that got me through 6th year and will hopefully help to maximize your grades! If you found the advice useful, check out my intagram account  for some more useful advice!


It’s sixth year, pressure is on, all you want to do is hit the books hard and know it all off word by word so you can get that sweet sweet H1. Unfortunately for you, there’s a little thing called ‘burnout‘. Classic symptoms include tiredness, frustration and worst of all, the inability to retain information. Burnout is usually caused when people overdo it – things like not taking breaks and studying until 12 o clock night every night. People with these habits often end up worse off and can often do more harm than good. Burnout is bad. Don’t burn out. Fortunately for you, you have me. I came into a close encounter with burnout and so I devised a list of the best study methods to help you avoid this tragic faith!



By far, one of the most important things you’re going to hear. There’s a thing called the forgetting curve.

Basically, it’s a bad idea to learn something and then not look at it again for weeks because you will forget it. Think of the information you remember like a car, to keep the car going you’re going to have to refill it with fuel constantly – this is what the curve explains. So, to stay on top of things, do little bits of everything regularly. Take accounting, for example, instead of revising Budgets one week and Club accounts the next. Spend the two weeks alternating between the Club and the Budgets and that way they’ll both be fresh! Likewise, doing sets of short questions in past papers regularly is an absolutely fantastic method of staying in tune with the entire course on a regular basis!



How do you know that you’re confident enough to say that you’ve understood and learned a section of your course properly? Here’s how. Open your textbook, revision book or whatever it is you use. Read through and highlight/underline important bits until you feel comfortable with it. Once that’s done, open your papers and do all the questions relating to that topic. This is an excellent method as it really helps to reinforce the study you’ve just done and it also highlights areas that you may not know 100%. It’s very easy to trick yourself into thinking you know something inside out and then stall when a question on it comes up.



No, this is not like the movies where you tell your mom you’re going on a ‘study date’ but you know very well that study was never on the agenda! This is the real deal. You’ve got friends, right? Are they in Leaving Cert right? They want to get good grades like you too right? (why else would you be here). If you and your friends are aiming for the same goal, why not help each other out. Studying with a friend can really help to make study more enjoyable and less tedious. In my experience, one of the best ways to ensure that you studied something properly is to try and teach it to somebody else. If you can teach it then you definitely know it. So teach it to your friend! They may actually learn a thing or two from you and you could return the favour by allowing them to teach you something. We’ve all got our strengths and weaknesses, so make the most of strengths your friends have to strengthen your weaknesses! You could even just both grab your textbooks, flip to a random page and ask one another questions on the page that comes up. The possibilities are endless!


⦁    Flashcards and posters

Never underestimate the classic flashcard. Flashcards are great for extracting the key most important bits of information and having it all in one place. It prevents you from having to flick through pages and pages just to find the answer to a question and it eliminates all the waffle. Trust me, textbooks must be sponsored by McCain because of the amount of waffle in them! It’s also great for some people as some retain information better if they see it written down in their own handwriting. You also have the freedom to colour coordinate your flashcards if you so wish! Posters, in my opinion, are just like flashcards 2.0. They’re just as good but you have the added benefitof sticking them to your wall and seeing them every single day. This goes back to my first point about a little a lot as seeing something on a poster every day is great for reinforcement. Even if you don’t see it, you see it. Although it may not have your attention, your brain still takes some of it in, even if its just a quick glance!


⦁    Pencil in your study time


Without a doubt, one of the struggles of sixth year is avoiding distractions. Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, memes, fail army, cat videos…. the list is absolutely endless! Having a schedule/plan is a great way to overcome this hurdle. Psychologists have been saying for years that there’s a power in writing something down. If you say out loud on Monday that you’re going to study for 3 hours on Saturday between 12-3 you can easily forget, get sidetracked or just change your mind. However, if you write it down, you’re far more likely to do it! I don’t know the science behind it but it works. Try it out for yourself! My schedule/plan involved me planning out the study I would do for the week on Sunday evening. I’d take into account what days I had training or what days I had a class test and arrange my own study timetable around that to get the most out of my time. It really helped me to stay on track and I’m sure it’ll do the same for you too!

Best of luck to everyone going into 6th year and of course, best of luck in June. You’ve got this!


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