You have submitted your CAO Application and are now facing into The Mocks examinations – a pre-Leaving Certificate rehearsal that you may not enjoy, but should make the most of.  Many people tell students, their teenage sons and daughters not to worry about the Mocks; it is not that important, it is not the real thing, don’t get too uptight about it. I tell them to do almost do the opposite. Do it for yourself, nobody else. This is your time to practice how you are going to prepare and complete the Leaving Certificate in four months time. Do the Mocks with these attitudes: 

  1. Study hard
  2. Treat each exam equally
  3. Develop a pre-exam routine
  4. Write, write and write
  5. Evaluate afterwards

Study hard

Yes, study hard. Set up a new study timetable a week before the exam, revising your study notes developed over the past 1-2 years. Your timetable should be designed around 45 minutes study and 15 min break, though this can be increased if you feel able to, especially the former, but do take breaks. Read, read, read out loud and take new notes. Answer questions that you feel could come up. Remember, studying is about answering questions.

Treat each exam equally

Treat each exam equally, before and during it. No matter how much you like / dislike the subject, no mater how difficult / easy it is, take the same attitude with the same focus; to study hard for it and work hard during it. In this way you will not lax, you will be the best you can be and not regret anything when it is complete.

Develop a pre-exam routine

Develop a pre-exam routine. This means that the day previous, the morning  / afternoon before the exam, you have a routine as to what you will be doing. This will include what time you get up at in the morning, what you eat, what you drink, what time you leave home to attend the exam, what you do after the exam. Stick to the routine and enjoy it.

Write, write and write

During the exam, write, write and write. Write wisely and write cleverly of course, but write as if your life depended on it. You should have some pain in your hand after each exam. Have a structure to your answers, a logic, make it easy for the examiner to understand your thinking and to award you good marks. Work as hard as you can, so that afterwards, you feel happy and content within yourself…I did the best that I could.

Evaluate afterwards

After each exam, do a quick evaluation. This is where you really learn and get more prepared for the ‘real’ Leaving Certificate later. Read over the paper again, think about how you answered each question, where you did well, where you were poor and where you could have improved.  The learning is in the evaluation. It can be difficult to  find the discipline to sit down and carry out an evaluation on anything. If you ever do it, do it now, it could save the day in the future.

Focus, Focus, Focus…it is a once off, only a few months  to go and then it is all over, do your best, your very best and your best will be good enough…