Starting back at college is a bit of a turbulent time, getting to grips with new timetables, new subjects and lecturers and that whole ‘back at college vibe’. For some students however, there’s a more serious fear, in that they don’t actually know if they’ll be present to partake in festivities.
For students sitting repeats, back to college is an ‘if’ as opposed to a ‘when’. I am the queen of repeats, having been through enough to last a lifetime. In fact, at the moment, I’m currently studying for one final one. I know what it’s like, I’ve been there, I’ve sat the exams, I’ve passed and I’ve failed, spectacularly may I add.
First off, I want to state, that there is no shame in repeating exams. You’re no stupid, you’re not thick, or anything else you might be thinking. You are extremely tough, and it takes guts to tackle something again, knowing you were beaten the first time round, rock in with the swag that Conor McGregor swag. Katie Taylor would have been disgusted with me, I felt like a mouse going into my exams second time round. You are well capable of smashing it out this time, it’s second time, it’s fresh, and it’s going to be familiar.
If there is support, which there should be, take advantage of it. Go to your lecturers, they’re there to help, not give out because you didn’t make it. They want you to pass, they want you to do well, hell, they need to, it reflects badly on them if you don’t. The library during summer is about as appealing as shopping in Dublin on Christmas Eve. However, there are some pros. The library will be quiet, all the books should be there, lots of space to pour over them all, you can get the full attention of the librarians and there’s no queues for the photocopier. I recommend, sourcing information from a few different libraries if you can, it’ll give some variety in answers on the day, and give you that extra edge. I recommend the library in the Ilac Centre, they have such a great selection, access to archives, and most importantly, very friendly opening hours.
Working with others can be helpful, I didn’t really do it, but I know it would’ve helped. Seeing what questions caught people out, and what others struggled with. I don’t know the logistics of confidentiality but perhaps ask your lecturers if they can put you in touch with others who are repeating. Two heads are much better than one.
Grinds can also be worthwhile, especially with a graduate student or someone in the year above you. They’ve been there, sat the papers and they’ve gone on. Who knows, they may have even failed at some point aswell. They might be able to see where you’re going wrong, and they are always really lovely and helpful.
Pace yourself, it’s still your summer aswell. Spoiling your entire summer will be pretty counter-productive come September when you do pass and it’s back to the grindstone again. There’s you, sleeping in lecturers, exhausted because you never had a proper break. Study, and work hard, yes, but make sure you take time for yourself. Mix up your study routine, get family and friends to test you. They all want you to do well. I find, saying things out loud can help, hearing the information out loud. Even record yourself saying it ad play it when you’re on the bus, or even studying.
In terms of the day itself, there’s a very different atmosphere than the regular exams. Everyone tends to realise the severity of the repeats. The papers themselves tend to be nice, and if you’re really lucky you may have gotten a cheeky hint about what may/may not come up. No lecturer, unless really cruel, will screw you over in the repeat exams.
Best of luck!!Remember though, they’re just exams, don’t let pieces of paper determine your future, life’s too short for that nonsense, and there is a way to achieve everything you want to in life!