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Getting the balance right in the lead up to exams

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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 www.examinations.ie 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 careerfocusnow@gmail.com.

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Killarney man wins most-coveted trophy in sheepdog trials

By Sean Moriarty Kilcummin farmer Tom O’Sullivan – one of the main organisers of last month’s Sheep Dog Trials in Fossa – has become the first Kerry man to win the biggest award in the sport. Tom is the chairman of the Killarney sub-committee and was a member of the 15-strong Irish team that participated […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Kilcummin farmer Tom O’Sullivan – one of the main organisers of last month’s Sheep Dog Trials in Fossa – has become the first Kerry man to win the biggest award in the sport.

Tom is the chairman of the Killarney sub-committee and was a member of the 15-strong Irish team that participated in the international sheepdog competition in Aberystwyth in Wales last weekend.

A total of 60 competitors, 15 each from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales, contested the biggest event in sheepdog trials on Friday to Sunday last.

After getting through the qualifiers on Friday and Saturday, Tom and his dog Northhill Tess, fended off the challenges of the other top-15 qualifiers to win the International Supreme Champion award.

Not alone is he the first Kerry man to win the competition, which has been running since 1947, he is just the fifth Irishman to do so and the first from Munster.

“The qualifying course was similar to Killarney,” he told the Killarney Advertiser.

However, Sunday’s final was much more difficult. His dog had to round up a flock of sheep at the left hand side of the course. Then Northhill Tess, under the guidance of Tom, had to round up a smaller flock and bring them to the same holding pen. When finished, five of the sheep were wearing red collars and Tom had to instruct his dog to separate them and bring them to a separate holding area.

“It is the biggest trophy in sheep dog trailing,” he added. “Everyone who trains a dog does so for this day. It is mind blowing. My family are very proud, they know the time and the work involved preparing for this.”

The standard at the Killarney event last month was evident in Wales last weekend. The Killarney winner, Peter Morgan and his dog Moss, ran Tom to a very close second.

His son Peter Og won the Young Handlers award and Team Ireland were declared the overall winners based on aggregate scores in the final 15.

Tom arrived home to Kilcummin on Monday night to a traditional homecoming bonfire.

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Vaccination centre leaves basketball club homeless

By Sean Moriarty With the National Basketball League set to get underway in two weeks’ time, Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club are still unsure where they will play their homes games this season as their usual venue is being used as a COVID-19 vaccination centre. The local side play Limerick Celtic away on […]

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By Sean Moriarty

With the National Basketball League set to get underway in two weeks’ time, Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club are still unsure where they will play their homes games this season as their usual venue is being used as a COVID-19 vaccination centre.

The local side play Limerick Celtic away on the weekend of October 8 and 9 and their first home game is set for October 16.

Currently their home venue at Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre is unavailable as it is being used as a COVID-19 vaccination centre and according to the Health Service Executive (HSE) this week, there are no plans in place, as of yet, to move out.

Killarney Cougars, the town’s newest addition to the National League, has secured the use of the gym at St Brigid’s Secondary School in the town centre but, as it stands, St Paul’s remain homeless as the season opener looms.

“It is ridiculous at this stage,” said head coach Jarlath Lee. “If you look at what is happening at the Sports Centre, there are very few people in and out of there now compared to the start [of the vaccination roll-out].”

The HSE when contacted by the Killarney Advertiser this week said that they would not be adding to a previous statement issued earlier this month, which said: “In relation to Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre, we are very grateful to staff and management for the use of their facility as a vaccination centre.

“Planning work is well underway for the next phase of the vaccination programme, locally and nationally. This includes a review of where vaccinations are administered in future, but we cannot confirm any decisions in relation to any particular location at this point in time.”

However, the HSE did confirm this week, that the Tralee Vaccination Centre, located at the Munster Technology University, will re-locate to the recently vacated Borg Warner factory in the town. The move is expected to be completed within the next week to 10 days.

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