It has been a difficult couple of weeks for Leaving Cert and Leaving Cert Applied students as you grappled with making decisions about accredited grades and exams. Regardless of what choices you have made, the important thing now is to plan out your time between this and the written exams so that you can pace yourself properly. Make sure you are clear on all the deadlines and key dates and try to stay as focused as you can on the end goal – to get through the Leaving Cert and beyond it to brighter times for everyone.
This past week brought announcements on further changes to be made to written exam papers to give more choice to candidates. The full document can be found on www.examinations.ie. Make sure you take time over the Easter holidays to check the detail of the changes for your particular subjects so that you can use your time more effectively and efficiently in the run up to the exams. Many of you are taking oral exams and music practicals over the Easter holidays, and while they are being conducted under different circumstances this year give them your very best shot as they are a great way of picking up marks that will boost your grade when added to the written paper. Orals for Leaving Cert Applied students will take place from May 3 to 12, the practical performance test will take place from May 17 to 21, and interviews for LCA practical coursework will begin on June 8.
Use a three step approach
To help you to plan out your use of time and to make sure you can pace yourself over the coming months I recommend a three stage plan as follows:
1) Put together a calendar for yourself between here and the end of the exams and mark in all the important dates that are relevant to you and the subjects you are doing. This will help you to feel organised and stay focused on the priorities on a weekly basis. A list of revised completion dates for coursework (including projects) has been issued by the State Exams Commission and is available on www.examinations.ie, as well as the timetable for the written exams which will run from June 9 to 29. Leaving Cert Vocational Programme (LCVP) Link Modules final exam will take place on Saturday May 8 and the Computer Science exam will take place on Saturday May 22.
2) Do out a weekly timetable at the beginning of each week including the important dates and deadlines for you that week, list your tasks that are a priority including written assignments and/or revision and don’t forget to include well-being activities such as fresh air and exercise as well as a productivity reward for yourself at the end of the week!
3) For the Easter holidays and weekends up to the exams do out a daily revision plan including your time slots for study, tasks you need to complete, topics you need to cover, and don’t forget your well-being breaks and activity!
It has been a stressful year so far, so use the time over the Easter holidays to recharge the batteries. It is also a great time to do further research into the course and career options you are considering for after the Leaving Cert. There is still plenty of time to look at college courses, post-Leaving Cert courses, apprenticeships and traineeships. Try to strike a balance between rest, relaxation and revision so that you can pace yourself in the final term to work well up to and including assessments for accredited grades and the written papers. All your effort will be worth it in the end!