LEAVING AND JUNIOR CERT EXAMS BEGIN
STUDENTS BEGIN WITH ENGLISH PAPERS TODAY
MORE than 3,500 students across Wicklow will start their Leaving and Junior Certificate exams today ( Wednesday).
A total of 1,553 students – 704 females and 849 males – will undertake the traditional Leaving Certificate while 72 students – 25 females and 47 males – will sit the Leaving Certificate Applied exams.
Meanwhile, 1,889 Junior Cert students, 876 females and 1,013 males, will also get their first taste of State examinations today.
This year’s Junior Cert exams will run until Thursday June 23, with more unusual subjects such as Latin, Classical Studies and Ancient Greek making up the bulk of the final few days. The Leaving Cert exams will finish up on Friday June 24 with Religious Education and Applied Mathematics as the final subjects of the day.
Lorraine Gillespie, Deputy Principal at the Dominican College Wicklow, has offered a number of tips to those sitting exams and has urged them to get a good, balanced routine going and to try and maintain a positive attitude.
‘Balance is paramount – the basic requirements of a decent night’s sleep, eating healthily and getting fresh air and exercise every day are essential in order to keep anxiety at a manageable level,’ she advised. ‘Don’t sacrifice any of these in order to cram!’
Ms Gillespie also recommended short stretch breaks between study periods (approximately every 30 to 40 minutes and preferably outdoors) to boost concentration levels, as well as eating plenty of ‘ brain foods’, such as blueberries.
‘ Two drop of essential lavender oil on the pillow at night or on a tissue may help to relax whereas burning an aromatherapy oil such as lemongrass may help concentration while studying – remember to follow the correct usage guidelines, however, as too much can be counter-productive,’ said Ms Gillespie.
‘Study topics that you are most concerned about, or find most difficult, early on in your study schedule each day. Use the methods that work best for you to help memory and recall – whether bullet points, flashcards, visual mind-maps, sticky notes on walls or recording your own voice speaking about a topic and replaying it to yourself later on.’
Ms Gillespie also touched on the importance of students backing themselves to do well and not undermining all their hard work with negative thoughts.
‘ Telling yourself that you’re not ready, that you’re going to fail or do badly and that you can’t cope will lead you in the direction of that reality,’ she said.
‘It’s essential therefore to train your brain to believe that you are as prepared as you need to be, that you have the knowledge and understanding within to be able to recall and express on paper, and that all shall be well in the bigger scheme of things,’ she said.
While it’s the students feeling the pressure of the exams, it can be a touch time for parents too as they want to do all they can to help their children get through the experience. Ms Gillespie has urged them to play their part in helping things go as smoothly as possible.
‘Parents can help by ensuring that healthy meals are made available during this stressful time, and that external stressors such as conflicts or personal worries are kept at a safe distance from exam students. This will help them to focus on what they need to do over these stressful weeks,’ said Ms Gillespie.
‘Kind words of support never go amiss – parents should reassure their children that whatever the outcome of these exams, they are loved and supported and there will be a variety of courses and careers open to them into the future.
‘ This is a time for special minding – even at 17 or 18 your child still needs to know that you are there for them and any practical support you can offer in the form of healthy meals, a clean, tidy study environment at home free of distractions and interference will go a long way,’ she added.
The Dominican College Deputy Principal concluded by wishing all students – in her school and beyond – the best over the next few weeks.
‘I wish all students the very best of luck at this time, and hope that they will all make every effort to achieve success as a stepping stone to future opportunities,’ she said.
Lorraine Gillespie, Deputy Principal at Dominican College.