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It’s all about stamina in the final term of Leaving Cert!

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By Guidance Counsellor Niamh Dwyer

As you return to school for your final term your focus will certainly be on making the best use of your time in the countdown to the exams.

With just over seven weeks to the start of the exams on June 7, it is really important that you look after yourself, revise effectively and work on your exam technique. The year of the Leaving Certificate is often compared to a marathon, so pacing yourself at this stage is essential so that you conserve some energy for the exams themselves. It can be tempting to try to pack in as many hours as possible of study in the final weeks as you grapple with the feeling that you don’t have enough done. Push those thoughts to one side and be sensible in your approach. Just like any long distance runner, if you exert yourself, you will have a lot less energy to perform well in the exams. It is all about striking the right balance between revision, rest and relaxation. Emotions can vary for Leaving Cert students at this stage of the year. You may feel stressed, anxious, overwhelmed while also feeling excited about finishing up in school and moving on to the next stage. Whatever you are feeling is normal and you are not alone. If you need to, chat to family and friends and reach out to those who support you in school.

Plan, prepare and prioritise

Approach this final term strategically. Plan ahead for each week. Make a list of exactly what you are going to revise for the week and draw up a daily priority list. At the end of each day tick off what you have achieved and plan for the next day. Review your mock exam papers and marking schemes. Prioritise the areas that need attention and fill in the gaps in your learning. At this stage it is essential that you practice lots of exam questions. Make sure you are clear on the layout of the paper in each subject, the breakdown of marks for each section and the time allocation for each question. When you are completing full exam questions, practice against the clock. Do your best to switch off all distractions particularly notifications on the phone and social media, so you can concentrate fully to maximise the use of your time.

Study sessions work best in short bursts at this stage, just like a High Intensity Internal Training (HIIT) session. Keep revision sessions to 45 minutes and take quick breaks to get up and move around regularly. Prepare glance notes and Mind Maps which will be really helpful in the days leading up to the exams. Always finish revision sessions by looking at an exam question on the topic.

Using a break down as follows might help:

* Survey the key headings, sub-headings, key points, diagrams, tables, maps etc (5 mins)
* Read the important information carefully, take very brief notes if it helps, but don’t overdo it. Concentrate on learning the content (20 mins)
* Recall what you can by brainstorming what you can remember on a blank sheet of paper (5 mins)
* Review what you are unsure about and have a look at an exam question on the topic to see how confident you would be to attempt it. Then check out the solution and marking scheme (15 mins)

Self-care is key

Above all else, you need to take care of yourself in the lead up to the exams. Eat well and stay hydrated. Avoid too many caffeinated drinks. Get plenty of fresh air and exercise. Don’t study too late and always allow time to do whatever relaxes you after study – take the dog for a walk, listen to music, try some meditation/mindfulness if it helps, watch Netflix for a short while. You know what works best for you. Keep things in perspective. The Leaving Cert attracts a lot of media attention every year, try to keep that hype at a distance and focus on staying on track with your own exam preparation. This year has been tough and tiring but you are almost there now so keep it going! Remember that whatever happens in the exams, you have lots of options and pathways open to you and a ‘study-free’ summer to look forward to!

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore and a member of Kerry Branch of IGC. See www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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Photo of “hidden gem” wins Camera Club’s latest competition

A photograph of one of Killarney’s hidden beauty spots was deemed the winner of Killarney Camera Club’s most recent competition. Th standard was high throughout all categories but in the […]

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A photograph of one of Killarney’s hidden beauty spots was deemed the winner of Killarney Camera Club’s most recent competition.

Th standard was high throughout all categories but in the Novice category, Iryna Halaieva’s photograph of O’Sullivan’s Cascade was deemed the winner.

“A waterfall is my favourite waterbody and long exposure is my favourite photographic technique,” she said. “I do my best to have as many waterfalls as possible in my photo collection. I heard a lot about O’Sullivan’s Cascade and wanted to visit that hidden gem of Kerry. So, shortly before our club competition I went with a friend to Tomies Wood to photograph it. It was a dream come true for me.”

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Corcoran’s Furniture walk raises €12k for autism charity

Corcoran’s Furniture and Carpets charity walk through the Gap of Dunloe on Saturday raised almost €12,000 for Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland There were 37 participants in the event, which included […]

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Corcoran’s Furniture and Carpets charity walk through the Gap of Dunloe on Saturday raised almost €12,000 for Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland

There were 37 participants in the event, which included AADI families, dogs, and representatives, as well as fundraisers, supporters, and members of the Corcoran’s team. The stars of the day were the three life-changing super-hero dogs, Buzz, Baron and Hank.

Former Kerry Footballer, James O’ Donoghue, was the ambassador for the event
Those taking part left Ross Castle and were treated to a phenomenal boat ride in the expert hands of Diarmuid ‘Dux’ O’Donoghue of Gap of Dunloe Traditional Boat Tours. The O’Donoghue family entertained the entire group with a range of fascinating stories outlining the history of the lakes of Killarney and Killarney National Park.

The group set out from Lord Brandon’s Cottage and walked the 11K through the iconic Gap of Dunloe, with two AADI families and their dogs taking part in the full walk. This was followed by a well-deserved meal and some rest and relaxation at Kate Kearney’s Cottage. Flemings Taxi’s Killarney brought the group back to Ross Castle, Killarney upon completion of the event.

“On behalf of everybody at Corcoran’s Furniture, we would like to thank everybody who participated in our Gap of Dunloe charity event on behalf of AADI,” said Shane O’ Callaghan, Financial Controller atCorcoran’s.

“Collectively we have raised almost €12,000 for this incredible charity and monies are still coming in. We are extremely grateful to all who supported our walk, and also to James O’ Donoghue, Christina Tagney, the Gap of Dunloe Traditional Boat Tours, the fantastic support of Noel Lucey and Donal McCarthy from the Order Of Malta, Killarney branch, and to Killarney National Park, Kate Kearney’s Cottage and Fleming’s Taxi’s. All funds raised will go toward the expert training and maintenance of the upcoming AADI dogs who will make a dramatic difference to so many children with Autism and their families.”

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