The Leaving Cert is a rite of passage for Irish teens. Yes, we wish we could just skip out on it all together, but it is important. We’ll let you in on a little secret though; even-though it feels like be-all and end-all at the moment, in a few short months it will all be but a distant memory. Seriously, you’ll forget all out it!
But right now the Leaving Cert is like a marathon sprint and it can take its toll. We can’t offer to do the exams for you (we have firmly erased all of those Macbeth quotes from our brain) but we thought we’d put together a little bit of advice to try help you through the next few weeks…
Before The Exams
The buildup to the first exam will always be the worst. Once you get that one over and done with you’ll get into the swing of things. The biggest hurdle of the L.C is completing one exam and then having to jump straight into another exam and/or prep for the next day. But you’ll get use to it, so don’t worry.
Go to bed early
This can be hard (especially the night before the first exam) but don’t be tempted to stay up late or all night to try cram. There comes a certain point where you just have to accept that you’ve done all that you can do. Take a while off from the books before you go to bed to allow your mind to unwind.
If you’re struggling to fall asleep because there’s just too much going on in your mind jot down everything really quickly on a piece of paper.
Don’t start to freak out.
Nerves are completely normal, but don’t let them get out of control. You’ve put in the work, the information is (somewhere!) in your head, you can do this. Try some Nelsons Rescue Remedy Spray, which is available from pharmacies nationwide – this is really good for the ol’ nerves!
Last-minute Studying Tips
Read over your old homework and past papers – you’re much more likely to retain information when reviewing work that you’ve already done.
Don’t pay attention to Whatsapp groups
Sure, your group-chats might normally be great craic, but avoid them like the plague when you’re in the middle of the L.C – they are a breeding-ground for panic and false humble bragging about how much studying someone else claims to have done. Or worse, the “I’ve done absolutely no studying” person. Avoid!
Write some key points on flashcards
Allow yourself three or four flash cards to glance over in the car on the way into the exam. Use the flashcards to highlight key points that you want fresh in your mind. Don’t be tempted to haul all your books and notes in with you, it will only overwhelm you.
What To Do If Yo Hit A Wall In The Exam
It might feel like the stuff of nightmares, but sometimes you can just hit a wall when you have so much information floating around in your head. Here’s what to do if you suddenly draw a blank in the exam…
- Take a deep breath and don’t start to panic.
- Read over what you’ve already written.
- If you can skip ahead to answer another section that you’re more confident in, do that.
- Jot down some key points and take your time to try flesh-out what you’re struggling to remember/say.
- Put your pen down and just chill out for a few minutes. We know just how time precious everything is in the Leaving Cert exams, but if you need to take a few moments to have some water or take a bathroom break it can really calm you down and refocus you.
After The Exam
No post-mortems allowed!
What’s done is done. Make a pact with your friends that you’re just not going to discuss the exam once its done. There’s no point realising that you might have possibly mixed up that theorem. The examiner is not going to allow you back into the room to change it now, so forget about it.
Take a break after every exam
Give yourself an hour or two off when you get home from each exam to decompress. Have something to eat and ideally try get in a short walk before you hit the books for the next exam. You got this!
The very best of luck to all of our Missy readers sitting the Leaving Cert!