Your Leaving Cert Survival Guide

The top tips to get you through your exams!

It’s that time of year again. The Leaving Cert is just around the corner! We have compiled a Leaving Cert survival guide that will see you through your final week of study and into your exams, from prepping to the aftermath.

A few days before the exam 

The days leading up to your exam can feel like the longest period of time. To make the most of this time without getting too overwhelmed it’s good to be as organised as possible. Here are our top tips.

1. Plan

The best way to make the most out of your final study days is to plan. Delegate your time evenly between your subjects and be sure to give yourself enough breaks throughout the day.  By planning you’ll know exactly what needs to get done. You’ll also feel like you’ve accomplished lots by the end of the day. While planning is great, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to stick to every detail. Give yourself some flexibility. If you want to spend a little more time on something you can.

2. Familiarise yourself with the length of each exam

Most Leaving Cert exams are about 2 and a half to 3 hours long. There are different sections of exams depending on the subject. It’s important that you plan out the amount of time you’ll spend on each section. For example, you could spend 30 minutes on a short question section and 1 hour writing a longer form question or essay. Look at the marks awarded for each question. This will allow you to gauge how much time you should spend on it.

3. Look through old exam papers 

At this stage, you are probably tired of doing previous exam questions, but it really is the best way to familiarise yourself with the exam itself. Look through some old papers and decide which section would be best to begin within the real exam. Sometimes it’s a good idea to start with a part of the course you like. This way you’ll give yourself a little confidence boost before moving onto some of the trickier sections.

4. Get to know your exam timetable

Print out the official Leaving Cert timetable and put it somewhere visible. Highlight the exams you’re taking so you know the exact day and time of each one. This will allow you to prioritise your study time. For example, the exam you have first takes precedence over the exam you have last.

5. Make sure you have everything you need 

This might sound like a simple one but look in your pencil case and make sure you have everything you need for your exams. Be sure to bring multiple pens with you in case one runs out. You might also need a maths set and some highlighters so you can underline important parts of a question. It’s best to have too much stationary than too little. And let’s be honest you can never have too much!

The day/night before your exams

1. Don’t overdo it on the revision

Your mind will probably be thinking of 100 different things in the days leading up to your exams. So don’t stress yourself by trying to fit in an entire day of study in too! Focus on the exam you have coming up first, look over some quick revision notes and leave it at that.

2. Pack your bag

It’s best to pack your school bag the night before to avoid any unnecessary stress the morning of your exam. Make sure you have everything you need, from your pencil case, lunch, water, and anything else you might need.

3. Learn your exam number 

This might sound like a ‘stating the obvious’ tip but be sure to learn your exam number. For the Leaving Cert, you’ll be given an exam number that’s unique to you. The last thing you want is to forget this number when you’re sitting your exam. So, if you can learn that TikTok dance you can learn that number!

4. Relax 

The next two weeks of completing all your exams will be both stressful and tiring. So, it’s more important than ever to relax. Do something you enjoy. That could be anything from running yourself a bath to watching your favourite show on Netflix. Anything that can take your mind off studying and the exams. Your mind and body will thank you for it!

The day of your exam

The day has finally arrived! Once you get your first exam over with, trust me the rest will fly. Here are some tips on how you can make it through the day.

1. Eat a good breakfast

Don’t let the nerves get the better of you! Eat a healthy and nutritious breakfast especially if you have an early morning exam. You’ll need all the energy you can get.

2. Arrive early 

Are you the person who says you’re on your way but hasn’t even left the house yet? We’re all guilty of this at some point but it’s so important to make sure you arrive early for your exams. This will give you time to settle yourself, go to the toilet if you need to and make sure you have everything you need to ace the exam!

3. Avoid any unnecessary exam talk

The dreaded post-exam talk with your friends should absolutely be avoided! It might seem like a good idea to talk through some of your exam questions, but it could lead you to become panicked and overthink what you wrote down. Once the exam is over there really nothing more you can do so it’s best to just let it go and talk about something completely unrelated.

While it can seem completely daunting to sit the Leaving Cert just remember everyone in Ireland has sat the exams before you and survived! With the exception of last years 6th years of course!

You’re nearly there, so hang on in there. And best of luck!

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By Lauren Allen