Student Issues

Leaving Certificate: Tips & Advice for the Final Weeks

It’s nearly that time of year again. The sun is out and unfortunate Leaving Cert students are very much inside, giddy with anticipation and jittery with nerves.

Every student coming to the end of their Leaving Cert cycle should be proud of themselves; two years of hard work (arguably the hardest part of it all) is coming to an end and only one more hurdle remains… the Leaving Cert. Read on for a few tips to keep your head clued in and screwed on for the final days.

Time to take care of yourself

This is the time students start to panic, cram and inevitably burn themselves out, physically, mentally and emotionally. Don’t throw away all your hard work now by wrecking yourself!

Get up early, eat a good breakfast, and study.

Take breaks often and don’t spend them entirely on your phone; take walks outside, meet up with friends to play a game of *insert desired sport*, whatever offers you release from frying your brain with notes.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take time to relax. Do something that offers you comfort and makes you happy. Better to spend an evening doing this than feeling flustered for weeks and having nothing really sink in!

Try to make time to still see your friends and don’t lose your hobbies, you need them to keep you sane through this!

It’s not too late to change the outcome of your grades

If your notes aren’t organised, do so now! Not being able to keep track of stuff now is one thing, but if you’re desperate to find something the night before an exam, you’ve signed yourself up for added stress. Needless to say you don’t need that in your life.

Use the last few weeks to narrow in and focus on key questions that have been bothering you while you still have your teachers at your disposal. They’re there to help you but they won’t be for much longer!

You’ve done the work, so let’s revise. The night before an exam

Review exam papers. Familiarise yourself with what you might be seeing the next day so it’s not such a shock! Summaries of chapters are good help alongside this, keep them by your side so if you draw a blank, you can quickly consult and recall what you need to know.

Don’t stay up late, get a good night’s rest. Stay hydrated and eat energising food that won’t have you feeling sluggish the next day.

Don’t dwell on nerves, and ignore the texts of those who do.

On the day of the exam

Wake up with plenty of time to get dressed and have breakfast with ease. This is not a morning to be rushing around in a tizzy!

Eat well and drink plenty of water (but do make sure to go to the bathroom before your exam).

• Don’t talk to people who are going to be negative and nervous. It’s normal for some people to be freaking out, but that’s not how you’re going to play this. Chat to those who don’t rile you up, and if that’s not an option, keep your head down and maybe go over a few quotes or examples in the corner. Your friends will understand.

Arrive at least 15 minutes before the exam starts.

Bring plenty of pens, and of course the essentials for your maths exam (do not be the person that forgets a calculator or maths set, just don’t). Bring a bottle of water with you too, good to take a gulp when you need a minute mid-exam.

Ultimately, you’re going to be okay. Whether you’re aiming for 625 or you’re just aiming to pass your subjects, you should be happy with the work you’ve put in and all you can do from now is your best. For the next few weeks, forget the ego, forget the guilt of ‘not working hard enough’, and forget the expectations of other people. This is about you and it is for you. Good luck.