Top exam tips for Leaving Cert students

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As thousands of Ireland's Leaving Cert students are preparing for their biggest exams yet, we have some tips to get you through this stressful time

1. Sleep

Cramming and staying up all night may seem like the best way to get through an exam. But in fact, sacrificing your sleep is not a good habit to be in. Having enough sleep will impact your ability to concentrate and learn in those last few days. It’s unlikely that you will do your best at studying or in an exam if you are struggling to stay awake.

2. Digital free zone

If you are spending a few hours revising before an exam, turn off your phone (or any other devices with notifications) or leave it in another room. These are the single biggest distraction that we have these days and if you want to do your best, you will have to leave your phone to the side. It’s only for a couple of hours. The Instagram notifications and the Snapchats will still be there when you finish.

3. Reduce stress

The worst thing you can do is to spend the night before an exam cramming. You have come this far and have spent weeks and weeks preparing. Put your books away at a reasonable time and relax. Cramming will lead to you being more stressed. Remember point 1 – sleep is vital.

4. Take 15 minute breaks

You will be very surprised at how taking 15 minutes away from your books will impact you – and positively. Get out in the fresh air for a walk, make yourself a cup of tea or just have a catch-up with a family member.  Breaks have such a positive impact on your brain. Try it.

5. Pack your bag

Your hard work and studying sessions are nearly coming to an end, so the night before make sure that you have everything you need in the actual exam. Having these prepared in advance will be one less thing for you to worry about.

These can include:

  • Plenty of pens/pencils
  • Sharpener 
  • Eraser
  • Calculator
  • Ruler
  • Maths set
  • Tissues
  • A watch 

Don’t forget to set your alarm clock the night before also.

6. Fuel your brain with food

You may not feel like eating or you might be too nervous to eat the morning of an exam. But a decent meal beforehand will allow you to solely concentrate on the exam and not be worried about your grumbling tummy.

7. Treat yourself

When the exams are finally over and you have the Leaving Certificate out of the way, be sure to treat yourself. Whether it’s some retail therapy, a holiday with family/friends or even getting to binge-watch seasons of your favourite show. Just be sure to have something to look forward to after all the hard work. 

Best of luck from all here at Waterford Institute of Technology.


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