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Leaving Cert exams pushed back, now what?

The Leaving Cert might be pushed back, but your goal is still the same – to do your best and achieve your dream college course.

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Leaving Cert exams pushed back, now what?

The Leaving Cert might be pushed back, but your goal is still the same – to do your best and achieve your dream college course. At Yooni we understand this can be a difficult time for many students to adjust to. With that in mind, we have advice on how best to spend your time and most importantly, on how to look after yourself in the weeks ahead.

Researching Your College Course

You can use some of this extra time before studying really kicks off by learning more about college life and the courses you want to study.

Many college courses let you choose your own subjects or options throughout the year. Now is a great time to research what kinds of topics you can pick from and which you are most interested in.

The Student’s Union pages of each college have great information on what college life is like and what you can expect. Everything from advice on how to prepare for college to all the important social dates on the calendar, to those all-important clubs and societies you can join.

College life – What’s it really like?

Clubs and societies are a huge part of any college experience. You’ll learn a brand new skill, add to your CV and make lifelong friends as you have fun. Every college has different clubs to offer so when you’ve finished researching your courses, why not see what the college itself has to offer?

Whether it’s joining a team sport, wanting to learn a new language or finding something brand new and unexpected, researching what college life is like is all part of the overall experience.

You can even try and get a head-start on these clubs by taking them up early. Or you can really practice and learn some vital survival skills for college like learning how to cook, or studying for that all-important driver theory test for your provisional licence.

How to avoid burn out

Burn-out is when your body and mind become exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed. You do not perform anywhere close to your best when you feel this way. While the exams are pushed back, it can be hard to know if you are doing too much or too little. When do I start, and when do I stop? What will happen in the future? All of this can cause you to worry. Here are some quick tips to help keep those stress levels down:

1. Remember you are not alone in this – your friends and classmates are all trying to study and research college during this time too. And even though we are in a time of social distancing, it’s so important to keep in touch with your mates right now. Text them or call them. Motivate each other like you would any other time.

2. You perform at your best when you are at ease. Don’t worry about taking breaks, you’ve earned them. Unwind with a good book, a TV series or listen to your favourite music.

3. Do not watch or listen to news bulletins on the hour about what’s happening in the world – this can be very stressful. Instead, spend that time doing things which will distract you and put your mind at rest.

4. We can get stressed when we are exhausted. We don’t think straight and can get very emotional. So get plenty of sleep every night, even on the weekends. Wake up and go to bed at the same time each night to build up a routine.

5. Avoid caffeinated drinks and junk foods. Instead, eat healthy options. Gentle exercise throughout your week will help keep you alert.

Staying focused on study

With schools closed and the exams pushed back, you might be wondering how or if your study will be affected. Firstly, the best way to keep focused on your goals is to structure your day.

Stick to your study timetable as you would normally – do no more and no less than what has been working for you so far. Plan what work you will do each day in advance. This will make sure you stay on course and won’t overload your day with too much.

Sometimes it can be easy to keep adding work but remember you perform best when rested and focused. It is very important to remember if you are feeling confused about a topic or overwhelmed, to contact your teachers. You are still their student. They are still your teachers.

They are there to help. Even though you aren’t in their classroom, send them any questions or ask for help if you need it. Teachers can advise you on what and when to revise, can help with practice exam questions and exam technique and correct work.

Your school is there to support you in every way in the months and weeks ahead.

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