Bray People - - NEWS -

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.

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