120,000 pupils will begin their leaving cert exams in over 5,000 examination centres tomorrow and the message to all of them from the people who have overseen their education is "keep things in perspective.
Issuing his organisation's last minute advice Clive Byrne, Director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD), said above all else it was important that students kept things in perspective.
"The Leaving Cert is just one set of exams and although important, is a stepping stone to what you want in life.
“Being in the best possible mental and physical condition is key. Remain calm and focused: you’ve done all you can. Eat well, take regular breaks and understand that it’s completely normal to feel a certain level of anxiety. Allow extra time too in the morning to get to school early, as you don’t want to be rushed."
Mr Byrne went on to issue the following list of last minute tips.
1. Get a good night's sleep
Don’t stay up all night cramming. After five or six years of secondary education, a late night of study will not make much difference to your knowledge of a subject. An early night will leave you refreshed and better prepared mentally for the following morning.
2. Arrive early
You need to be relaxed on the day of the exam in order to feel in control of the situation—and that’s difficult to achieve if you rush into the exam hall as it starts. You will need about 15 minutes 'quiet time’ to mentally go over your 'game plan' one last time.
3. Be prepared
Have the obvious tools ready for your exams, such as pencils, rulers and pens. Make sure you have subject-specific tools at the ready, like a calculator for Maths or coloured drawing pencils for History of Art.
4. Beware of post-exam analysis
Don’t participate in the exam post-mortem—you may well only serve to dishearten yourself. You can't change what has just happened in the exam hall and your focus must be on the present and next task at hand.
5. Attempt all questions
Attempt all questions. If there is no attempt made to answer a question, the examiner can't give you any marks. Work on the basis that you will get an answer written for the required number of questions. If you find you’re running out of time, or are not satisfied with a question, move on to answer the next and return to polish it if you have time at the end.
On the days of your exams, remind yourself of all that you have achieved. Positive self-belief will help you with your confidence when you sit your exams. It’s almost over, and your reward is a summer break that is exam free.