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The Overrated and Underrated Tips for Surviving Sixth Year

The Overrated and Underrated Tips for Surviving Sixth Year

Sophie Coffey
The Overrated and Underrated Tips for Surviving Sixth Year

If you are anxiously awaiting the return to school and desperately seeking some tips for surviving sixth year then worry no more! We have rounded up not just the best, but also the worst advice!

The Leaving Cert year is so widely anticipated that in many ways it is almost the stuff of legends. And like legends there are some elements that are exaggerated or embellished for the sake of the narrative.

Our expectations are often moulded by the advice or recollections of previous students. As a result, we generate beliefs that are reflected by the conversations of older peers. This can offer some added reassurance going into your Leaving Cert year, but it could also leave you making assumptions. To save you wasting your valuable time, check out our overrated and underrated tips for surviving sixth year.


Late-night study

There is often an expectation that being a sixth year involves spending every waking hour studying. In fact, you may even believe that you should spend your night hours revising too! Not only is this overrated advice but it is also utterly unnecessary. Using your available time wisely is an important skill to learn but so is recognizing when to stop. Studying late into the night is often a claim to fame in sixth year, albeit a ridiculous one. Try not to be unsettled by someone who proudly proclaims that they stayed up until 2am revising fifth year topics. Not only is this worth taking with a pinch of salt but learning to tune out the misplaced pride of other people’s study schedules will also prove valuable.


Many sixth years will get a shiny badge to represent their new position as the eldest in the school but a more unofficial indication of year group can often be found in their drinks. From a morning mug of coffee (or two) to an evening can of an energy drink, regular cups of stimulating drinks can build up very quickly. While they may give you quick bursts of energy, their long-term benefit to your study is absolutely overrated! Nourishing foods like fruit and vegetables can still provide you with some extra energy without the harmful added ingredients in a can of energy drink.

Hours at the library

On we have previously addressed the harmful habit of glamourizing constant productivity. In sixth year, the effects of this can be particularly damaging. Proclamations as to the number of hours spent at the library or how much revision was completed over the weekend will become conversations you are well-versed in every Monday. This is a similar concept to the pride with which students discuss their late-night study. Focus your mind on your own study just as you will your own results.

OTT Stationery

Some people learn best with the use of colourful notes or decorative mind-maps. In the fourth episode of our Listen Here Missy podcast, Danielle discussed her love of stationery, and this is a passion many of us share. Unfortunately, however, passing the Leaving Cert does not require you to have multiple pencil cases of every bic colour under the sun. Instead, ensure that you always have sufficient materials but try not to become too focussed on the aesthetic of those materials.


Written to-do lists

I had a terrible habit in sixth year of only making mental to-do lists. These mental lists were definitely better than nothing but a physical to-do list is far superior. There is a reduced likelihood of forgetting something on the list when pen is put to paper. And as an added bonus ticking things off a physical list will provide you with some added motivation.


Instead of singing the praises of a cup of coffee aim for the much calmer lullabies of sleep. The overrated late-night revision and caffeine consumption is a dangerous combination. It usually means a consistent sleep schedule takes a back seat at a time when it is particularly essential. Previously we have explored the benefits of sleeping over cramming so trust your own method of studying and aim to switch off by a certain point each evening.

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Watching videos

Taking notes is the most traditional form of study but it is far from the only option. While note taking works for many people, some students will require another type of revision to suit their learning needs. Alternatively, you may find that different subjects necessitate different learning methods. Watching videos can be a great way of processing a certain learning goal. YouTube and study websites offer a versatile selection of educational videos free of charge. While often underrated they can contribute greatly to your learning in lots of subjects including maths problem solving, languages or anything requiring images and diagrams.

Scheduled time-off

When it comes to tips for surviving sixth year this is definitely one I will reiterate. On a Monday morning taking time off is not something admitted to as proudly a spending 16 hours studying. However, the benefits of planned time off are significant. Even in sixth year scheduling your time off does not sound overly appealing to be fair. However, this is one of the best ways for you to take a break without the guilt associated with spontaneous laziness.

Do you have any overrated or underrated tips for surviving sixth year?

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