Niamh Shields has a practical guide to staying cool, calm and collected during the Leaving Cert exam days.

Hope everyone is preparing and keeping well for the upcoming exams. Do not worry, in no time it will be summer and you will be LC free, woohoo!

Photo by Lacie Slezak on Unsplash.

Here are some tips how to stay cool, calm and collected during the exam days of the Leaving Cert.

1. Get a good breakfast:
Sounds quite simple, doesn’t it? But the truth of the matter is, students tend to get so nervous that they skip breakfast. Although it may be tricky to eat with a nervous tummy, try to have something small, so you have that little bit of energy. Plus, a rumbling tummy in an exam hall echoes very loudly.

2. Organisation – Morning Prep – 30 mins MAX.
You have done all your studying weeks before. You know everything you possibly can, now it is just a matter of being organised. Now, let your brain breathe before the exam, give yourself 20-30 mins.

  • Sections: How many questions are you required to answer per section. Note the time you have also.
  • Potential Topics that may arise: Briefly look over what teachers, not friends, suggested may come up.
  • Materials: What do you need? Log book, calculator, pens (You can never have enough pens), highlighters and so on.
  • NOTE- Don’t forget to bring essentials into hall such as water, tissues, also a watch (not smartwatches) of your own to keep track of time!
  • A quick glance at overall study notes: Condense your notes into little flashcards the night before. Glance over them for ten minutes only and then simply relax.

3. Relax:
Easier said than done I know, but the build up to the exams, especially the first exam, nerves can just build leaving you frantic. Remove yourself from any stressful environments, e.g. the canteen filled with stressful students questioning and answering what topics they studied.

After your organisation prep, ask your friend would they like to go for a quick walk outside and talk anything that isn’t exam related. Remember, once you start the exam, the information will come running back, do not think you must study right up before the exam, it isn’t true.

4. Avoid discussing the exam after with friends:
Ah the dreaded post-mortem Leaving Cert paper. No, no and no. The exam is done. The time machine is not invented yet, why bother making yourself or anyone else for that matter sick discussing it. Avoid it at all cost, it’s pointless.

5. After Exam Treat before Evening Study:
Give yourself a pat on the back after the exam. Exams are tough and gruelling. It can be easy just to retreat to your desk to study again but give yourself a treat, whether it be lunch/dinner with your friends or simply just watching an episode of your favourite TV series, make sure you give yourself a nice treat and break. You deserve it.

6. Good Night Sleep:
Exam days are long and hard, as one of your treats, get a face mask because eye bags and dry skin were my weakness. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep and remember:

You’ve got this!