Saturday, 15 August 2015

• My Advice to Future Leaving Certs •

Hello! I hope you are having a good day. Today I want to talk about a topic that most Irish teenager dreads to hear, that being the Leaving Certificate - ooh the horror! For those of you who are not Irish, the Leaving Certificate is a final exam you take after five, or six, years of secondary school. I recently received my results, ( which I am delighted with by the way ) so being fresh out of the Leaving Cert means that I have a bit of experience when it comes to this topic. That being said, I am just a seventeen year old who wants to share my adivce with you. Let's get cracking shall we? 

• Start Studying As Soon As Possible •

I know what you are thinking. " Why would I start studying now, I have until June!!!! ". Please don't be that person. You can start off small and work your way up towards the bigger stuff. This year went extremely quick for me. I was one of the oddballs that started almost straight away and I was thankful in the end. You will not feel overwhelmed and panicked if you are on top of your study compared to those who are studying in bulk, wishing they had started sooner. Seriously, start as soon as possible. You will thank yourself if the end, I promise.

• Set Goals For Yourself •

This definitely came to my advantage. On the first day of school, I took out a flashcard and wrote out what grades I wanted, calculated my points and wrote down my college requirements. I stuck this on my wall, in front of my desk. Every time I felt even slightly unmotivated, I looked over at my goals and this got me right back on track. It definitely helped me as the Leaving Cert got closer and closer. 

• Find Your Preffered Method Of Studying •

Everyone has a different method of studying. That's just a fact. I am an active learner. I need to be writing constantly, whether it be writing notes,  mind maps or flash cards. I need to be writing in order for something to stick in my head properly. Of course there are tons of other methods. If you prefer to listen, you can record yourself reading out the information you are learning and then you can listen to it back. If you prefer to read, use highlighters and annotate. I found a trick online where you can get gummy bears or other sweets and lay them on each paragraph. Once you have read a paragraph, you can reward yourself with the sweet. The choices are endless and it is completely up to you! Just make sure it is something you can see yourself doing for the whole year.

• Do Not Fret Too Much Over Class Tests / Mocks •

Of course, they are important and you need to try your hardest at everything that is hurled at you. At the end of the day, the Leaving Cert is all that counts. As long as you know you have worked for the mocks / class tests, you will be okay. Take a bad grade as a learning experience and improve yourself for YOU.

• Balance Your Life •

This one is extremely important. Don't be one of those people who locks themselves in their room for countless hours. It is so unhealthy, both mentally and physically. Make sure to do a sport, meet your friends or make time for your hobbies. The Leaving Cert can be a very stressful time and the pressure can get to you, regardless of how much or how little you have studied. Making time for everyday things that you enjoy eases the worry for a while. You can have a social life and still get good grades. If I could do it, you can do it too. 

• Have a Rest Day •

This one helped me so much throughout the year. I took a complete break from homework and study on a Friday. I went to a spinning class for an hour which released a lot of stress. I spent the rest of the evening relaxing with my family. This allowed me to unwind from a long week. I got back on schedule the next day. Of course, this became quite hard to maintain as the Leaving Cert approached but it helped me so much. 

• Your Homework Can Count As Study •

This took me so long to realise. Of course, if you have the time after you have completed your homework, you have to do some study. However, I found that on some days of the week, I would get a mountain of homework and by the time I finished, I would be way too tired to do any study. Once I realised that homework can count as study, especially towards the end of the year, it helped me feel calmer when it came to studying. Independent study is important and should be done most days, but there are those certain days that your homework schedule can be crazy. Try plan your study around your homework schedule.

• Put 100% into your Orals & Projects •

This, again, is a very important bit of advice I can give you you. For the orals, start learning your material as soon as you go back to school. Your written exams are primarily based off material you learn for your orals, so it will help you in the long run. Your projects should be attempted to the best of your ability. Make them A standard if possible. They can be the difference from a B to an A, a C to a B and so on. They can make a huge change to your grade. They are just as important as the actual exam.

• Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help •

If you are worried or confused about an aspect of the exam or not being sure about what you want to do after the Leaving Cert, ask someone for help. As unappealing as it sounds, you will be thankful that you did. You may think it is a stupid question but that's what teachers are there for. They want the best for their students and they will do anything they can to help you.

I hope you found my advice helpful. I am not an A student or any expert but I wanted to share the little bit of adivce I had. The Leaving Cert is an anticlimactic experience. Once you are in there, you will be okay. 

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I will help if I can. Best of luck next year! 

| ♥️ thank you for reading ♥️ |


  1. Hey!
    First of all, let me congratulate you for doing well in your exams! I'm just about to start Year 11 and it's the "important year" when my GCSEs are. We have to study everything we've learnt over two years. How long of a course do you have to study in Ireland? Also, do you have any tips on getting over a bad grade? I get my science GCSE result on Thursday so I'm preparing myself for the worst! Thanks a lot and as always, your blog is awesome!

    Lots of love,
    - Marshmallow Skye

    1. Thank you so much :) there's two courses when we start secondary school - the Junior Cert which is three years and the Leaving Cert which is two. I always feel so upset when getting a bad grade, but it is important to take it as a learning experience. As long as you know you gave that test one hundred percent, you should be proud regardless of what grade you get. Thank you so much and best of luck for the school year ahead! :) xo

      | Caoimhe xo |