So, it’s not that long since you were one of the little ones starting ‘big school’. A short 6 or 7 years later, the excitement of graduation has passed and the reality of the Leaving Cert has taken grip. If you’re panicking – stop it! We have a few last minute tips that might make the next couple of weeks a little less stressful. They won’t replace hard work, but they are a few reminders that might help with the non-studying side of things.
Relax – Yeah, I know, it’s easier said than done at this stage. Its too late to sign up for a course in yoga, but a few simple breathing exercises can help calm the nerves. If you feel nerves or stress are really getting on top of you then tell someone like your parents who might help relax you and calm you down.
Remember a certain amount of stress and nerves are normal and natural. It is a big exam after all.
Eat properly. Going into an exam hungry will not help your concentration levels. Drink water. Try to avoid energy drinks and caffeine.
Get a good night’s sleep before each exam. If you can part with your phone, leave it in another room or at least out of reach on silent. Go to bed a little earlier than usual.
If you insist on cramming each night before your exam, take plenty of breaks, get some fresh air and a little exercise.
Be prepared – Do you have spare pens and pencils? What else do you need? Calculator? Ruler?
Know your timetable – You don’t want any nasty surprises like finding an exam starts a half hour earlier than you thought.
Set an alarm to wake you up in plenty of time, and ask someone else to make sure you are up in time.
During the exam. Try to relax. Read the questions properly and carefully. All too often people answer a question they are not being asked.
Start with the question you feel most confident about. Don’t mind what others are doing. It often feels like everyone else is writing more than you. Its a distraction.
When you have finished, and if you have time, go back over the paper again. Make sure you have your number in all the places it needs to be for example.
Back where we started, DON’T PANIC! The Leaving cert is an important exam, and important couple of weeks in your life, but it is not the be all and end all. There are plenty of different pathways to success. The Leaving cert is just one.