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Getting the balance right in the lead up to exams




Words: Niamh Dwyer

The last couple of weeks leading up to exams can be difficult. Students who have worked hard are feeling exhausted while many feel overwhelmed by the amount they have left to do and worry about running out of time. Regardless of the work rate up to now, it is important to get the balance right in the lead up to the Leaving & Junior Certificate which begin on June 6. Consider the following suggestions to ensure that you can give them your best shot.

Plan the remaining time carefully. At this stage the study plan should have the essential topics to be revised in each subject, taking account the schedule of the actual exams.

Actively engage with the subject material. Instead of sitting silently looking at your notes, read them aloud. Hearing the information will make it more memorable. Move around if necessary to keep up energy levels. Become the teacher, research has shown that the most effective way of learning something is by having to teach someone else. If you don’t have willing students, pretend you do and explain out loud what you know about the topic.

Use Flashcards. Long detailed notes need to be condensed into keywords or simple diagrams. They are ideal to focus your attention the night before the exam.

Focus on Exam Paper layout, sample questions and marking schemes. On you will find past papers, solutions and marking schemes. Study these carefully. Once you have revised a topic, read through the questions on that topic in past papers and see if you could attempt them, then look up solutions.

Practice timing in key questions. If you are concerned about your timing in certain subjects pick a couple of questions and practice against the clock.

Vary the routine of subjects and topics. At this stage it can be more difficult to concentrate so move from one subject to another more frequently. For example, revise a topic in geography and then move onto a question in accounting.

Avoid social media while studying. Put away the mobile phone. A huge amount of valuable study time is lost by responding to messages on the likes of WhatApp and Snapchat so for the coming weeks put away the phone while studying.

Switch off. The mind requires rest in order to function effectively in study sessions and exams so it is essential that you learn to take breaks. On study days, get up early. Treat it like a working day (9am-5pm). Take short breaks in the morning and afternoon and an hour for lunch. Then relax in the evening. Watch TV, go to a match or for a walk or meet up with friends.

Maintain some balance. Although it is difficult to think of anything other than exams in the final weeks, it is essential to strike a balance. Exercise, fresh air and healthy eating are hugely beneficial for the brain and they ensure the best chance of staying focused, maximizing concentration and making optimum use of the remaining time. They also help to perform more effectively in exams. Consider exercise an integral part of both your relaxation and your study plan.

Niamh Dwyer is a guidance counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore and is PRO of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She can be contacted at



Killarney centre stage for Pride Festival

The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage. Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July […]




The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage.

Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July 17 to 21.

The organisation’s flagship Party in the Park event will be held again in Killarney House and Gardens, following the Pride march in the town centre on July 20.

This year, in solidarity with the people of Palestine, Kingdom Pride in Kerry is inviting the people of Kerry to come to show their unity by bringing Palestinian flags and kites to the march, and to the Party in the Park.

“Pride is a protest for human rights all over the world. Here in the Kingdom, we have been so lucky to receive tremendous community support from our allies and supporters, and we see the struggle for liberation of all peoples as a united cause,” said Daniel Quirke, chairperson of the organising committee.

“Our events have always welcomed everyone, regardless of gender, orientation, religion, or nationality. We truly believe that together we can create positive change through caring for and loving one another. This year is no exception, and we look forward to helping to highlight the Palestinian cause, and to bringing people together to keep generating positive change for all people.”

Events will take place in Cahersiveen, Listowel, Killorglin, Tralee and Dingle, and include an Irish comedy night with Áine Gallagher, an Irish-language movie screening, yoga, sea swimming, poetry and storytelling, bowling, pitch and putt, a lively drag night at the INEC, and plenty more for people of all ages.

“We do our best to keep tickets as low-cost as possible, and we have lots of events that are totally free to attend. It is important to us that people can share Pride with us, regardless of income. Especially with the rise of the cost of living putting a strain on people’s pockets.” added the chairperson.


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A weekend of Live Music, Fun and Entertainment, at FleskFest 2024

The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event. “It promises to be […]




The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event.

“It promises to be the festival weekend of the summer, an event you don’t want to miss out on. Last year’s Festival was a fantastic memorable experience for our community, a time to get together and celebrate,” said festival PRO Seán Daly.

Organised by Glenflesk GAA, FleskFest 24 will take place at the Barraduff Community Field next week.
There will be a fully licensed bar in the Fest Marquee, some amazing live music on The Big Stage, food trucks and much more.
Glenflesk GAA club’s biggest fundraiser of the year includes a new-for-2024 Texas Holdem Poker Tournament on Thursday night.
Weekend highlights include old-time waltzing, jiving and polka sets with Paudie McAuliffe and Paudie Coffey Band on Friday,
On Saturday, the new Well Flesk event will take place.
“A morning of self-care and wellness at Flesk Fest featuring masterclasses in yoga, pilates, mindfulness, spinning, fitness sessions, workouts, firewood sauna and ice pods with a range of experienced and qualified instructors,” added Daly.
Leading local musician Johnny Courtney and Friends, Sam and Ina, The O’Donoghue Sisters, Reigning All Ireland Champions Glenflesk Ballad Group, and The Border Boys will take to the Big Stage over the weekend.
Sunday is Family Fun Day with children’s entertainment and disco and the All-Ireland Hurling Final Live on the Big screen followed by music with Thingamajig.
The festival will finish with a Sunday evening session with the Meadhbh Walsh Band.

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