study skills examination techniques

100 Days To Go…

With 100 days to go to the Leaving Certificate Examinations, you as a student are now feeling the pressure, feeling somewhat anxious and thinking how will I get through the next three months March, April and May. You’ve just had your last mid-term break (ever!) and it is time to once again and for one last time start studying and preparing for what is probably the most important examination you have to do in your life. So, how do you go about doing this, so that you don’t get overwhelmed, stay on track / focused and be the best you can be in June?

Consider the following:

  • Do a realistic, yet challenging Study Plan
  • Doing more study than Homework
  • Keeping August in your mind’s eye
  • Enjoying your last days in secondary school
  • Doing your best

Do a realistic, yet challenging Study Plan

Plan out the next 100 days on paper in the form of a Study Plan and put it over your study desk. Using 45-60 minutes of study periods and 15 minutes break times, see it as a working week i.e. clocking in and clocking out

Doing more study than Homework

The transition from doing homework to doing a study as your Teachers should be encouraging you to do as from now. Going back over your subject summaries and past papers should be your primary focus

Keeping August in your mind’s eye

Think of that day in the middle of August, when the results ‘come out’. Don’t be the person to be disappointed; be the person who is delighted with their results, looking forward to the CAO offers the following week.

Enjoying your last days in secondary school

Don’t forget to enjoy the last 100 days in secondary school. I know it is easy to say, however, when you are enjoying them, coupled with working hard, it will help the learning’s more stick in your mind.

Doing your best

At the end of the day, all you can do is your best and do try to give these 100 days your all, with no regrets. So shackles off, head down and be the best you can be…

Work experience during your academic years…

Most of us spend minimum 10 years and up to 20 years in school, whether it be in primary, secondary and / or third level education striving to achieve an education and a qualification that will secure us a job / career that we will like and that will pay us a salary to meet our desired future lifestyle.

As we begin our education, we have no idea why we are doing it, where it will lead us to, where it will take us to and what will be the outcome / reward at the end in the areas of a job / career. As we progress, we realise that the reward is to get a job, build a career, become self-sufficient and pay our way.

Some people begin to pay their way when their third level education is completed, while others start working as soon as they are legally able to i.e. @ 16 years young, whether it be in their parents / guardians family business or through someone they know.

Work experience during your academic years can be such a rewarding experience. Never mind the ‘paying your way’ mentality, which is really only a by-product; the true benefit is the opportunity for you to grow, meet all types of people, do all kinds of work tasks and get an idea of what you’re good at, what your skills / competencies are and decide on a job / career future before your academic years are complete.

In the years that you have no major examinations, force yourself to search for and secure a job at w/e’s, during mid-term breaks and of course in summertime; a job that you like, that will challenge you and that you will learn from.

Some of these jobs might not deliver all of these; however you are at the very least making some money, meeting new people and not wasting all of your precious time watching other people doing well in their lives…

I don’t like my course…

You are in your first few months or are heading towards the end of your first year in college and it has been building, building, building to a point that you have now come to, where you are asking the question, ‘Have I chosen the right course?’ Since starting it last September, you have got through it, attended the lectures, passed the exams / assessments, but…! You don’t love the course, you might not even like the course, you’re not inspired to excel, you don’t know why you’re doing it and you don’t know where it will lead to when you complete it, if you complete it!

The above situation is not a nice place to be in when you consider what you have done to get here, the time involved, the costs involved and now the consequences of deciding to leave the course. So, you are here, it is how you feel and it is time to sit down with some people and take action and make some decisions.

  1. Consider finishing the first year of the course
  2. Review your previous career planning / guidance notes, results and advices
  3. Seek some form of formal or professional help (again if necessary)

There really isn’t much more you can do. Of the three above, the most important is Point 3. You have to first and foremost identify what industry, discipline or field you want to work in. Then and only then do you choose the course or training need to make this career a reality i.e. when prospective employers see it on your CV, they will be impressed and will want to meet with you.

Students who feel they are in the wrong course, will not excel and achieve the best grades they can, because the interest, motivation and love for it is simply not there…

It’s time to review your Study Plan…

We are told and from personal experience that January to May flies by. You may not think it now as the January days go by at a snail’s pace, but in two weeks’ time, Spring is upon, two weeks after it is St. Valentine’s Day, then St. Patrick’s Day, quickly followed by Easter (which is early this year – ?). All these calendar milestones make time go faster causing precious lost unplanned time periods never to be utilised again.

If you haven’t done it by now, you need to ‘up’ your study plan hours by re-visiting the plan you had done for September-December time period. You only have five months to go to what are (whether you like it or not) the most important examinations of your life so far.

You now need to be planning between 25-30 hours of homework / study each week (a week being seven days Monday to Sunday). The homework period will slowly reduce and transition into study time as the weeks go by and from Easter it will be all study.

Below is a timetable example that you may need to view and consider and introduce into your life for the next five months.

Do not regret not putting in the time and effort. If you don’t, you will be rewarded.

Enjoy the final few months of your secondary school education by seizing every day, indeed every hour…they will fly by…!

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