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

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…

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…

Parents – Write Things Down when you have invested in a Career Guidance Professional (CGP) to help your son or daughter in their career / academic / study plan challenges. So many parents trust the CGP (which they should) to give their child all the attention and care they need to help them make the right decisions, and never check in with them until the decisions are made at the end of the process (assessments, tests, questionnaires, discussions, decisions etc. are completed…). It is in your interest, as much as your child interests, that you know what is going on, what you have invested in and that you get summary feedback on what has been carried out at each session, what is needed to be done before the next session and what is planned to occur at the next session.

As you choose the CGP, ask them for a proposal regarding their approach, how long the intervention takes and the costs involved. The latter can be a deal-maker of course. But, you have to make the decision on what this is worth to you, what you will get out of it presently and in the future. The costs and time involved in your child choosing the wrong Career, choosing the wrong Third Level Course, choosing the wrong Leaving Certificate Subjects far outweigh the cost in investing in a CGP (if they are good of course and come with a track record, recommendations and testimonials).

As you and your child begin the process of working with the CGP, you need to request the following. More so from your child than the CGP. The CGP can also provide this information, but it is better that you get it from your child under the direction of the CGP…

  1. Summary of what occurred / was agreed at the session
  2. What has been given to your child in the form of exercises / activity for the next session?
  3. What is planned for the next session?

You should demand from the CGP that the above is completed and written down by the child, under the CGP’s direction and given to you in a format that is organised, professional and clear…all leading to making good career, academic and study plans for your child.

Once you have this information, it can benefit you in many ways:

  • You know exactly what is been carried out with your child during and between each session
  • You can review this information with your child immediately before and immediately after each session
  • You can look back at what was done in the days, weeks, months, year ahead should you witness that your child has not been following what they set out and agreed to do during their time with the CGP
  • You can involve the CGP again, if need be, if you feel that your son / daughter is not performing in the way that you expected
  •  Finally, by having this involvement and information in your child’s future career, education and study, you feel more confident and in control knowing that they are getting the best attention, and you are getting a return on your investment…an investment that is difficult to monetize (i.e. what is it worth to you?).

When it does deliver and your child meets all there and your expectations, the monetary investment is insignificant…