Post-Christmas can be a daunting time for those working towards the state exams. Various deadlines, such as the CAO application, mocks, practicals and, of course, the exams themselves, can create a stressful environment for many students working towards their Leaving and Junior Cert. Though, what’s key to battling this stress is organisation. So, we’ve written this back to school bible to help you get organised for your exam.
Making sure you have your favourite pen, plenty of post-its, knowing the key dates and getting sufficient rest all help to cultivate an easier journey from study, to exam prep and then the final exam. Getting organised early allows the exam process to flow and keeps you level-headed and confident.
There’s no better time than January to get organised and work out your run-in to the exams. And that starts with getting your study space in good shape. If you have a desk at home that you study at, break out the duster and hoover, clear it of clutter and remove distractions from the room! Have a stationary supply ready to go: pens, blank pages, highlighters, etc. Create an environment conducive to good study.
Maybe you study at the library, but the same principles apply. Have your bag stocked with the study supplies you need to be the best you can. Try and get a seat in the same area each time you go. Going to the library with friends is a good idea, as you can motivate each other to get there and work hard, but sit away from them (they might be fun to sit beside, but, remember, you’re there to study).
Wherever your revision takes place, make sure you have a plan. That plan should be both realistic and provide a challenge. Setting yourself too much work will leave you feeling discouraged if you don’t get it all done. Making a plan that is too easy will rob you of the gratifying sense of achievement that’s earned after a good study session. So, knowing your own capabilities is key for any plan. This might have to be worked out over a few sessions to see how much you’re capable of and that’s OK (it’s all part of the process).
What’s more, it’s important to realise some days won’t go exactly as planned; you might get more done than you expected or you might fly through those exam paper questions with time to spare. Being aware that every day is different, some good, some bad, will help you to stay focussed. As long as you keep working those days balance themselves out over time.
Getting organised now and beginning to study as early as possible will stand to you come June. It’s widely recognised that studying over a long period of time is more beneficial (and less stressful) than cramming for exams. And for these finals few months reducing stress and increasing revision retention is essential.
Even with these buffers the stress can get to you, so remember to speak with someone if it’s all becoming too much. A parent, teacher or friend will want to be there for you, like you would for them. Feeling overwhelmed is normal. The examiners, your parents, your teachers have all gone through this exam and came out the other side. And with preparation, organisation and hard work, you will too.
To help with studying for your exams, see our Revise Wise series on www.revisewise.ie