While researching my text book ‘How to ACE the Leaving Certificate’ for all subjects, I spoke and listened to many former and current students and collated survey results from sixty six years. They provided me with some extremely insightful information on how they felt about the exam system as well as what tips they would give to students coming through it. Much of their advice was based on study skills and ‘clever learning’, both of which would also be really useful for any second or fifth year preparing for their own summer exams. The following is the feedback and experience they found useful to pass on in relation to achieving success:
Students’ Big, Big Tips for Achieving Success
On asking students for one piece of advice that they would give to those doing exams, these are the best ‘one liners’ they came back with:
- Try not to bottle exam stress up. Talk to your friends and parents.
- Don’t beat yourself up when you are not studying.
- Try to keep sleep, eating, and studying patterns consistent.
- Understanding words is better than memorising them.
- Play some loud music or head out dancing every so often.
- Stop and count to ten if you feel anxious.
- Use your own words when taking notes. Keep the notes short.
- Breathe deeply into your lungs to help combat nerves.
- Exercise to help reduce tension.
- Your parents can be a great source of advice.
- Speak to your teachers all the way up to exam start.
- Stay away from stressed out friends for a few weeks.
- Keep eating proper breakfasts and dinners.
- Underline the key words on the exam paper to focus your mind.
- Bring earplugs into the exam hall to help your concentration.
- Get into some good study habits at the beginning of third year.
- Start creating a weekly timetable to help you study in third year.
- Pay attention to all your subjects, not just the ones you like.
- Don’t isolate yourself from your friends in third year.
- Continue the hobbies you enjoy during exam year.
- Don’t expect too much of yourself.
- Ask your teachers loads of questions. They love that.
- Your teachers have every confidence and belief in you.
- Don’t believe everything your peers say online.
- Try not to pressure yourself, you are probably ready anyway.
- Take a step back from social media around exam time.
- Treat yourself to good breaks when you are studying.
- Your friends will also be nervous on day one of the exams.
- Doing your homework well is the best form of study.
- Go out with your friends to chill at some stage during the exams.
- Be super organised, especially the week leading up to the exams.
- Plan each study day in between exams.
- Go for walks or cycles to get fresh air around exam time.
- Stick post-its/posters up in your room to help memory.
- Practice as many past exam questions as you have time to do.
- Always remember your parents/relations are very proud of you.
- Buy a good solutions book for subjects you find difficult.
- Work hard and play a little during the few weeks of the exams.
- Double check all your materials are present the night before.
- Accept that not everything will go exactly to plan.
- Work with your friends on subjects you are struggling with.
- Try and enjoy the challenge of preparing for exams.
- Do every piece of homework as if it was an exam question.
- Be sure to ask your teacher if you don’t understand something.
- Focus heavily on exam questions the weeks before the exams.
- Use varied methods of studying to avoid boredom.
- Keep a copy of your exam timetable in your room.
- If an exam doesn’t go so well, move on, focus on the next one.
- Reward yourself with little food treats around exam time.
- Use the Internet to look up information that’s not in your book.
- Re-write notes in your own words so that you understand them.
- Stay positive.
- Write down a vision for your life.
- Always see can you improve what you are doing.
- Speak with your friends about areas of the course you are anxious about.
- Set goals to ensure you are still moving in the right direction.
- Ask your friends about the different ways they study.
- Be aware of time spent on the Internet and phone.
- Be careful who you share your dreams with.
- Ask yourself “Am I going in the right direction?”
- Record on a sheet all the good things in your life.
- During exam year, try and block out the negatives.
- Record all your thoughts of the day on an A4 sheet; then shred it.
Focus on the positives.
More details about how to purchase ‘How to ACE the Leaving Certificate’ for all subjects and Joe’s ever popular ‘ACE Maths Solution Books’ for the Junior and Leaving Certificate are on his Facebook page and website www.acesolutionbooks.com. Pick up your copy today">www.acesolutionbooks.com.