And now the end is near……

With only a matter of weeks to go to the Leaving Certificate examinations, it is now time to transition from doing homework to full-time study. Indeed your teachers should have by now ceased giving homework and be focused on study, passed papers and particular areas of examination questions that might come up in the examinations.

When it comes to study, you should have by now summarised each chapter in each subject book that can be summarised into manageable study notes like a mind-map, pointer cards and / or note-pad. Studying from the actual books themselves is difficult as you are looking at and reading all of this information, trying to decipher what is core and key, and what part of it could be asked in an examination. If you haven’t already done this, then do it, it is not too late. You still have lots of time left to transfer the main subject chapter information that could be asked about in an exanimation into manageable study notes. This will make your study periods easier, more productive and indeed more enjoyable.

Speaking of study periods, how long should you be studying for as you head into the final furlong of this long 5-6 year school race?

There are many different theories of this from many experts. Some suggest 45 minute periods with a 15 minutes break, some say 60 minutes and so on. I guess it is really what works best for you. You should have some form of study plan / agenda that gives you some structure to your day and ensures that you are giving adequate, ample and the necessary time to each subject that require it. Whatever you choose, include break times, put the study plan on paper and stick to it.

 

Fail to plan, plan to fail…

 

 

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…

The Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) – Let’s Break it Down!

Leaving Certificate Vocational ProgrammeThe Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme is provided in many schools across the country, though not all schools provide it, due to reasons of class numbers, location and coordination challenges. We are told that there are over 500 schools offering the programme, which is still a lot. The LCVP offers students a unique opportunity to develop their interpersonal, vocational and technological skills, and experience at first hand the ‘real’ world and what it takes to ‘make a living’ after education is complete.

Benefits of completing the LCVP are many;

  • For CAO purposes, the points achieved in six subjects can be used.
  • It is completed before the June examination
  • Help students choose a their third level course
  • Help students choose their ideal career
  • Develops IT, communication, vocational and writing  skills as well as develop skills in case studies, interview techniques and teamwork, which will be very helpful to students pursuing third level education or those who wish to enter the jobs market after completing their Leaving Certificate.

Students can sit the Leaving Certificate Examination and choose to do the LCVP as an eighth or extra subject. The LCVP course consists of two link modules called ‘Preparation for the World of Work’ and ‘Enterprise Education’.

There are qualification criteria in order to complete the LCVP as well as doing the LCVP itself – two subjects in the Leaving Certificate from any one of specific combinations from subject groups (see further on in article); a language or a language module, Irish subject and a minimum of five Leaving Certificate subjects. Note that some students may be exempt from some languages.

Leaving Cert SubjectsSubject Groups (The Department of Education & Science):

  1. Accounting, Business, Economics (any two)
  2. Art and Accounting or Business or Economics
  3. Biology and Chemistry or Physics
  4. Biology, Home Economics, Agricultural Science  (any two)
  5. Construction Studies or Design & Communication Graphics and Accounting or Business or Economics
  6. Construction Studies or Design & Communication Graphics and Physics
  7. Construction Studies and Design & Communication Graphics
  8. Home Economics and Accounting or Business or Economics
  9. Home Economics and Art
  10. Music and Accounting or Business or Economics
  11. Physics and Chemistry.
  12. Art and Design & Communication Graphics
  13. Agricultural Science and Construction Studies or DCG
  14. Agricultural Science and Chemistry or Physics
  15. Agricultural Science and Accounting or Business or Economics

CAO Points for LCVP are 70 for a Distinction (80-100%), 50 for a Merit (65-79%) and 30 for a Pass (50-64%)

The LCVP course is made up of 60% of portfolio work, completed in fifth year and 40% is a written examination that takes place in May of sixth year.

The LCVP course includes the following (The Department of Education & Science):

  • Presentations from guest speakers from the world of work
  • Visit to places of work locally
  • Team Enterprises
  • Work Experience
  • Using Computer Technology
  • Interview Preparation and Technique
  • Learning how to write up reports and plans
  • Preparing Curriculum Vitae
  • Investigating Careers

The 60% part of LCVP contains (The Department of Education & Science):

  1. Core items (do all four)
    1. Curriculum Vitae
    2. Summary Report (on a visit in/out)
    3. Action Plan – i.e. on learning a new skill or organising an activity
    4. Career Investigation
  1. Optional items (do 2 out of 4)
    1. Recorded Interview – 5 minute interview on DVD
    2. Enterprise Report – e.g. on organising and running a fashion show
    3. Report on ‘My own place’ – i.e. a brief summary of what facilities are available in their local area
    4. Diary of Work Experience – 3/5 days of a work experience placement

The 40% part of the LCVP i.e. the examination incorporates      (The Department of Education & Science):

Section A – Audio Visual Questions:

Students watch a video featuring a business or community enterprise and answer questions on it.

Section B – Case Study:

Students read a short outline of a business or community enterprise and answer questions on it

Section C:

Students answer 4 out of 6 general questions.  Topics here include questions on careers, reports, plans, interview questions, work experience and items that have been written up in their portfolios.