Abigail

Advice from the Far Side

Our posts on Facebook from high scoring past pupils are proving very popular.

Here is Abigail Ibilola’s advice for all those in the Senior Cycle. Abigail has gone to study Law and Business in Maynooth. It’s an epic – but worth reading to the very end – students have foud her words very helpful.

“Entering 6th year without a doubt I felt terrified and anxious in equal measure. However, I was determined to succeed and achieve my set goals.

The vast majority of my study involved pen and paper. I found that using past exam questions as a guide for my study really helped me across the board in all of my subjects. I would read my notes and then I’d try to do a whole question. If I didn’t know the answer, I would leave it blank and move on. I’d look at the marking scheme and then I’d come back to the same question and try it again later. If you focus solely on learning the course, your exam technique will suffer. When it came closer to the exam, I’d sit down and try to do a question under exam conditions: within the time limits and so on. The LC isn’t just about what you know, it’s also about how you approach an exam.

When it came to actual study hours, I studied for about an hour after I did my homework every day of the week and about 5-6 hours on Saturdays and Sundays with small breaks in between. I always took full advantage of my weekends. I would get up early in the morning and do about 2 hours of study before I had my breakfast. I would then take an hour or so to wind down by watching my favourite TV shows on Netflix (Netflix is a requirement, especially if you watch Riverdale).

Studying has never been fun to begin with, and forcing yourself through a study marathon will only make it worse. If you leave yourself a heap of work to do at the end of the year, it will seem too overwhelming. DO NOT let yourself fall into this dangerous place. Take action NOW while you still can. Start by starting, even if it’s with the smallest possible thing. Running away from your work will only make you feel deflated. This is emotionally more draining than having to go through the frustration of studying in the first place. Think of yourself as a plane on a runway: you may start slowly but eventually you will take flight and reach your destination.

While it’s important to make time for leisurely activities, it’s also important that you don’t overdo it. The leaving cert, while it may not feel like it, is only 9 months of your life. You will have plenty of time to yourself when it’s all over so spend your time wisely. I’m not saying don’t go out at all, just remember that you have to make some sacrifices.

Another vital piece of advice: Research your courses. No matter what deadline you have around the corner whether it be orals or projects, you should be aware of every single module you will have to do in the courses that you put on on your CAO. Attend as many open days as possible and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Read as many prospectuses as you can. If you’re in 6th year and you don’t have a box, shelf or drawer chock-full of prospectuses and flyers from universities, there’s something wrong with you. After all, there’s no point in working so hard to get the points if you end up studying a course that you absolutely hate!

Finally, I’d like to close by saying that you need to have a purpose. The fear of failure will not keep you going neither will the desire to keep your parents or whoever happy. You have to want to do well for yourself. My personal motivation was to leave my final exam and truly believe that I had done my best and that I had nothing more to give. That way no matter what happened on results day, I would have no regrets. Your future is in your hands. In order to succeed, you just have to be willing to work hard.”

Thank you to Abigail for taking the time to send us her message. We wish her every success in the future.