This week, most youngsters have returned to school (I feel like an old biddy for saying “youngsters”). For many, they have the misfortune of being in 5th and 6th year. When I was in both years, I was filled with dread and a sense of “how do I get through this”. I can prove to you that it is possible to survive this whether you are in 5th or 6th year. So here’s a guide for both years.
For 5th years:
1) If you thought the Junior Cert course was a lot of work, the Leaving Cert course is even harder. So that is why nobody took you seriously when you were complaining about the Junior Cert back when you did it.
2) If you are feeling that your subject choice was a bad idea or struggling in the first few weeks, ask your teacher for advice, or if you wish to drop down to ordinary level or to change subjects.
3) If you get a teacher you don’t like, give them a chance and you could get along in the long run. Trust me, this is worth it.
4) Most importantly: DO NOT WASTE FIFTH YEAR!!! For the love God, don’t treat it as a doss year! Work as you go along. It makes things easier later on.
For 6th years:
1) Listen to your career guidance councillor in class, especially for the CAO stuff.
2) The CAO usually opens in the beginning of November, so try to register and fill in your courses within the month to avoid doing it at the last minute in late January.
3) When you get your oral exams, you will be introduced to the examiner. Contrary to popular belief, they are nice people who are not out to get you.
4) When preparing for the orals, make a rough script to tailor to your life and your interests. Just don’t go over board.
5) For the love of God, don’t narrow down to just one poet in English!!! If anybody remembers the Plath fiasco of Leaving Cert 2012 you will know why.
For both years:
1) Learn your Irish picture sequences THE MINUTE YOU GET THEM.
2) If you are struggling in a subject and don’t want to drop down: go for grinds. It may be more work, but it makes a huge difference.
3) Try to get sleep and don’t do all nighters. If you’ve seen Inbetweeners, you know what could happen.
4) Be careful of distractions like TV, your phone or the Internet. Studying away from home like study sessions and Lenten bans are two effective methods from personal experience.
5) Though you’ll be making sacrifices, you need a small hobby in your spare time to keep you sane and calm.
6) If things are going badly, don’t give up.
7) Most importantly, remember that you WILL get through this. And you will be fine!
I’m handing the torch the you and I wish you the best of luck!