Should I be studying over the summer?

Who should be studying during the summer?

Sixth year is a time when you're not only expected to prepare for pressurised exams, but also make decisions about your future. It would seem reasonable to not wait until the pressure mounts and the absolute deadlines loom to decide on these things - all just before the mocks hoping that you fill the form before the CAO website starts crashing...

should I be studying for Leaving Cert over the summer

People who should consider studying during the summer:

- if you are playing catch up and "did nothing in fifth year"
- if you plan to do a lot of extracurricular activities in sixth year, such as debating competitions, etc
- if you have to do the HPAT or some other restricted course project
- if your summer exam results were disappointing
- if you are going for a course that usually requires more than 500 points
- if you strongly prefer to study at your own pace

summer leaving cert study tips

The pros:

- if there were topics you didn't understand in the past, now you can cover them at your own pace
- if you need a grind, you can get it at a convenient time, not when you are tired after school
- when you are doing things off your own bat, you don't feel like you are coerced - and you may just find that you enjoy the subject
- it will alleviate the anxiety that you have an insurmountable amount of work
- it's another round of revision putting you ahead of the CAO points competition
- the "use it or lose it" principle applies to studying. It's just like trying to stay fit: a small amount done regularly is generally better than insane amounts once in a while
- even more so than studying, it may be useful to consider your future/CAO choices. This requires a lot of time and you don't want to be under pressure

The cons:

- it could initially make you feel anxious because you will realise that there is a lot and at this time there is no one to hold your hand
- it could make you feel down because you can't even have summer off

How to study during the summer

How to study during the summer

As time is on your side, you can stop and think of what you really need to get done. This is the time to work on your weaknesses. What are the 5 least favourite things you did in fifth year? Was it trying to write a 5 page essay in 50 minutes? Was it long division? Was it trying to draw a diagram of the heart? List those things are let them guide you. You will be surprised at how things will turn around when you are studying on your own terms.

It's probably not the time to cover new material - unless you are already way above average at a subject. This where most of the cons lie, so maybe leave it till the time you have your teacher to guide you. 

This is a good time to make a study/revision plan for the year ahead.

Many of you won't have looked at the exam papers and there is no harm at all at familiarising yourself with exam papers and marking schemes. Pay special attention to the questions with the most marks. Consider attempting some questions. Doing past papers is really the mainstay of doing well in any exam.

If you are tired from studying, do some CAO form research: look at prospectuses and courses. Try to reach out to people who are currently doing the course you are doing and they are the people with the best answers to your questions. 

All of this takes time, so use it while you can.

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