Leaving Cert Preparation Guide for Students
April 21, 2016
Leaving Cert Preparation Guide for Students
As it is April, many of your friends and relatives are probably telling you not to stress, to keep calm and reassuring you that you have loads of time to get everything done, nevertheless this is a lot easier said than done.
This blog will give some tips on how to keep stress levels low and also how to use your study time effectively.
It is said that stress is a good motivator, however stressing too much can cause many problems so it is very important to have a balance between personal life and school work.
• In order to get this balance you need to take breaks from studying and school work. Starting a sport or other taking up a hobby, is really good as it gives you time out and helps to clear your mind. It is said that participating in a sport be it in a team or alone, helps you to study better as your brain is more focused.
• If you are not a sporty person you can take breaks other ways, going for a short walk or listening to music or even just talking to family and friends. It does not matter what you do during your time out, as long as you are not studying. Daily exercise of any form helps keep you focused also.
• Shorter breaks are also very important, after long periods of study, short breaks are good to keep your brain alert. Usually after an hour or so of study a short break of around 5 minutes should be taken.
Another way to reduce stress is to practise exam papers and exam technique, it is never too early to get started on this as the more practice you get the better you will become. It also helps your confidence.
• There are many past papers available along with simple solutions which help to improve your exam technique. Knowing how the questions will be asked and being able to understand what they are looking for is very important as it not only saves time it also helps ensure you get the marks going for the question.
• Doing exam papers is a very effective method of studying as it helps you to learn the layout of the exam and the types of questions asked. This helps when exam time comes around as stress is reduced because you will be familiar with the exam paper and less time is wasted in the exam because you know the layout.
• For subjects like maths, accounting and physics repetition of the previous exam questions is very important. You will learn how to do the questions and by repeating them you will get better at them. Usually the questions that come up each year are similar to previous ones.
3. Note Taking:
It is important to make your own notes that you can use to revise. Notes should not consist of copying the information from the book onto a page. This may work for some people but for most there is just too much information on the page, that is where summarising comes in. Writing notes aids your brain in absorbing the information.
• Making short and concise notes is very effective as only the essential information is on the page in front of you. The headings and key points are what you should learn and from your knowledge you should be able to expand on your points.
• Using mind maps and flash cards are helpful as they can be colourful and easy to learn from. They can hold all the information needed all in the one place. For subjects that contain a lot of theory like Biology and Business these are helpful, in addition summarising the key points in the chapters can help.
• There are many helpful study notes available on the website for most subjects, which can be used alongside your own notes in order to help you study.
4. Effective Study:
Study time should be used effectively and not wasted as the academic year goes by quickly, as you can probably see. In order to make the best use of your time you should know what your strengths are and what areas you need to work on. You should work hard on the areas you are good at and be confident in those areas.
• Everyone has different study techniques for example someone may be able to learn something just by reading it a couple of times while someone else may have to write it down. It is up to you to choose how best to study, there are suggestions and study tips available to help you find the most suitable technique.
• Study plans are important for effective study, they should set out all you have to study and when you are going to study it. They should be broken down into weeks and each topic you are going to study on each week. This ensures you have done what is needed. These are very helpful when coming closer to the exams.
• It does not matter how much time you spend studying each day if you are not doing it effectively it will not be of benefit to you. If you are learning a chapter you should always test yourself at the end to see how much you actually remember and maybe go back and do a question on that chapter another day to see if your study of it was effective. There are many online tests available to help you test your knowledge and find out what you need to learn.
• Another effective study tip is to make sure you understand what you are learning, do not just learn it word for word. If you understand it you will remember it easier and you will be less likely to forget the information when under stress.
• If you are struggling with one particular subject, you should look for some extra help, there is a lot of help available online, in tutorials, concise notes and grinds.
• If you have confidence in your strengths you will be less stressed. When you are studying have confidence that you are doing it effectively. If you are confident it will be easier to learn and retain the information.
• You must also be confident in your ability to improve in your weaker areas because if you have confidence you will be better able to develop your skills.
• With confidence comes positivity and at the end of the day positivity is the key to success. If you are positive about studying well and getting the points you want then you will also have the confidence to do so.
6. Set Goals and Targets
• Setting yourself goals and targets helps motivation. If you have a goal of getting the points needed for the course you want, then you will work hard and be motivated to reach that goal. Short term and long term goals should be set. The short term goal could include a topic or section of a subject to be done by a certain time and a long term one could be getting a certain grade in a subject in the final exam.
• If you are motivated you will work harder and study more effectively, because a vision of the future and where you will be in a few years’ time will be a good motivator to get the work done.
• Setting goals means the work that is needed to be done will get done and it will not be forgotten about as you have it set out.
• In order to do well in the Leaving Cert it is essential to be organised throughout the whole year. Folders are useful and it may be a good idea to have a separate one for each subject as teachers will probably give out extra notes with useful information on them.
• Organisation means you know where everything is so you will not be wasting time looking for notes or books or anything else you may need. You should have everything you need on hand throughout the year.
In conclusion, the Leaving Cert year is a very busy time, there is a lot to get done and even more to remember with information for colleges and applications along with the all-important information for the exam at the end of the year. Although it may seem like a long year, the time really does fly because you are so busy with everything that is going on, so don’t forget to use your study time effectively and also make time to take a break from the books.
Do not worry about what other people are doing, focus on yourself, set your own goals and reach them your own way. Everyone has their own plans for the future and their own goals set, so it is important to just concentrate on your own goals and future.