So what’s next? By this stage, all Leaving Certificate students in the country have done their Modern Language oral exam and their Irish oral exam, as well as their Music practical.
It can be difficult to keep up momentum after the massive push that is made for the oral exam, but it’s absolutely essential. The timing of the oral exams and of Easter differs every year, but a year when the Orals fall just before Easter can be challenging because after the pressure of the Orals and the practicals, you just want to flop down in exhaustion, and there are no teachers to push you to keep going when you feel like sitting down and sleeping for a week!
The time between the Orals and the end of the year is going to fly. It is a great feeling now to set the oral exams behind you and really focus all of your attention on the remaining sections of the exam, knowing – or hoping! – that you have done your absolute best to get as much as possible of the 20% (ordinary level) or 25% (higher level) available in the Oral. I hope that by this stage, you feel like you have a good amount of work behind you.You’ve finished or are finishing off projects and books for Agricultural Science, have written up your History special project, have turned in your Geography project and have done your Music practical. With those behind you, with Easter holidays upon us and the sun shining happily down, it’s hard to remember how vital it is to keep up the concentration and the focus.
Well, here’s something to focus your mind: IN ONE MONTH (and two days), YOU’LL HAVE FINISHED SCHOOL. IN TWO MONTHS, YOU’LL BE BANG IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR LEAVING CERTIFICATE EXAMINATIONS!
When you look at it like that, things should fall pretty quickly into perspective. The time you have left in school is precious: you’re with your friends, by this time you probably have a good relationship with your teachers and everything you do may be tinged with bittersweet emotions of hope and nostalgia. What you have to do now though is look forward. The rest of your life is waiting. You just have to get through the exams, and you have to do that as well as you possibly can.
Get the most out of your time left: go to class, drive the teachers wild with questions, do extra work and get them to correct it, talk to your friends about things you’re not sure of in your studies and, in general, make the most of what you have left. In our school, the time we have left together is slipping away through the hourglass. I was away last week examining the Leaving Certificate Orals, and when we come back from the holidays, we’ll have three weeks of class left. It’s hard to believe that this time can come around so fast. When I look at my sixth year students, I can still see them as the first years they were six years ago, and yet, in a month they’ll be getting ready for our school’s Valedictory Dinner and be on the home straight. It’s scary how fast the end of year comes round. Granted, there are students who’ll make it their business to come and see me in the time between when we finish and when the exams start, and they’ll bring questions, or want to go through different things and iron out small doubts, but the main teaching time is drawing to a close.
Soon, as it is now during the holidays, it’ll just be you and the books. Remember that it’s never too late to begin your revision. If you feel scared or worried, or even terrified that you haven’t enough done, there’s only one solution: hit the books. Easter is a great time to do this. You have two full weeks to focus, sunshine so you can go for walks to keep your sanity and the prospect of a delicious Easter Sunday dinner followed by too much chocolate…
Every little bit you do is better than the bit you don’t. Make the most of every second you have left. When you go back to school, be nice to the people in your year – remember, they’re stressed too, and soon, if you want, you’ll never have to see them again – and be nice to students in the younger years, they don’t know what’s ahead.
Finally, remember to keep the eyes on the prize: your future. We’re enjoying on-and-off exam weather at the moment, but remember, the sun will shine after your exams. Keep up the focus!
This post is an update of a post written in April 2013.