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




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 or follow @mycareerplan on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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Fassbender ready for second Le Mans appearance

Local Hollywood A-lister Michael Fassbender is in the final preparation stages for his second appearance at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans. The iconic endurance race is celebrating its […]




Local Hollywood A-lister Michael Fassbender is in the final preparation stages for his second appearance at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The iconic endurance race is celebrating its 100th edition next weekend.

The Fossa star has already arrived in the famous French twon where he is involved in a week-long series of engagements including drivers’ parades, autograph sessions and more serious appointments like car safety checks, practice and qualifying.

Like last year, when he finished 16th in the LMGTE Am class, Fassbender has been entered in to the event by the German Proton Competition team with Estonian Martin Rump and the Austrian Richard Lietz.

Fassbender dreams of following the trajectory of fellow Hollywood actors Patrick Dempsey who was second in LMGTE Am class in 2016 and Paul Newman who finished second overall in 1979.


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Ireland’s oldest citizen has Killarney connections

Ireland’s oldest woman met with President Michael D. Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin this week. Máirín Hughes, who turned 109 on May 22 has strong Killarney connections. The previous record […]




Ireland’s oldest woman met with President Michael D. Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin this week.

Máirín Hughes, who turned 109 on May 22 has strong Killarney connections.

The previous record was held by 107-year-old Nancy Stewart who died on September 10 2021.

Although born in Belfast, Máirín went to school in the Mercy Convent. Her father was a customs and excise officer and the family moved around a lot eventually coming to Killarney after spells in County Down and Dublin.

Her mother came from the Rathmore area and her father was from Newmarket in County Cork.

She attended the Mercy Convent and has, in previous interviews, recalled growing up on the shores of Lough Lein.

“Neighbours who had three children were given the job of taking me to school,” she said. “They were annoyed because the children were going to school for two or three years but I was put in to the same class as them – my mother had taught me.”

In 2021 she featured in the book ‘Independence Memories: A People’s Portrait of the Early Days of the Irish Nation’, sharing stories of being kept in school in Killarney during an attack on the RIC barracks down the road.

In 1924 she started a degree in science and a diploma in education at University College Cork, before working in the pathology lab in University College Cork’s Department of Medicine for 16 years.

last year she recalled her story on the podcast: ‘Living History – Irish Life and Lore’.

During the broadcast she talked about her parents’ membership of the Gaelic League in 1910; the Spanish Flu in Ireland in 1918; The Black and Tans in Killarney in 1921; the early days of the new Free State; Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in 1932, visiting the Basket Islands in 1929; and working in the UCC medical laboratory from 1932 until 1948.

This week President Michael D. Higgins hosted an afternoon tea event to celebrate the important role that a variety of people have and can play in different communities and Máirín was among the guests of honour.

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