The importance of keeping exams in perspective has been emphasised as 120,000 students prepare to begin Junior and Leaving Certificate papers today.

For more than 56,500 people, it marks the beginning of the Leaving Certificate which starts this morning with the first of two papers in English.

The same subject is the opening exam for most of the 60,652 entered for the Junior Certificate. English & Communication is timetabled for this morning’s Leaving Certificate Applied which has 2,811 students this year.

Institute of Guidance Counsellors president Betty McLaughlin said the beginning of the exams is a very stressful time for students and parents, but they should try to remember that their whole lives do not depend on the outcome.

“While the State examinations are an important milestone in a young person’s life, they are not the only one. Exams and results neither define nor detract from the wonderful young people they are, and the great citizens they will become,” she said.

Final preparations for Wilson and Luis Halligan before their exams at Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh Bishopstown, Cork.
Final preparations for Wilson and Luis Halligan before their exams at Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh Bishopstown, Cork.

Education Minister Richard Bruton suggests Leaving Certificate students should remember there are many opportunities to them later: “As well as routes to further and higher education, there are alternative pathways to rewarding careers.

“For example, work continues on developing high-quality apprenticeships in a number of sectors.”

The exams continue until June 24 for some Leaving Certificate students — the day after the final Junior Certificate exams.

“The Leaving Certificate Applied concludes a little earlier, on tomorrow week, June 16.

Boxes with exams papers at a distribution centre.
Boxes with exams papers at a distribution centre.

Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) president Máire Ní Chiarba said the most important thing now is for exam candidates to stay calm and focused during the period of their exams.

“It’s normal to feel some level of anxiety. Try to keep things in perspective.

You are sitting exams; that is all they are,” she advised students. Nobody expects any more of you than your best effort.

Keep exams in perspective, students told ahead of Junior and Leaving Cert papers

“Look after yourself. Eat well, exercise and get plenty of rest.

“All of this will help you maintain your energy and wellbeing over the coming weeks,” she said.

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