5 Things You Should Know about the Junior Cert
For most Irish students, the Junior Cert is the first major set of exams you have to sit. You’re just sort of flung head-first into a mix of projects, studying, homework, classes, etc., without actually really knowing what’s happening. From seeing students struggle and worry about these exams and from having sat them myself, there are a few things that I think every JC student should know to make their lives that bit easier and less stressful. A big part of success in the Junior Cert is having a positive mental attitude, and reminding yourself of the following points is essential in having a healthy, optimistic 3rd year of secondary school.
1. It's not all the hype everyone gives it
I've seen a lot of students on Studyclix really let the Junior Cert get on top of them and let stress levels take over completely. It’s 100% not the hardest thing you’ll ever do, remember that! You’re young and you have your whole life ahead of you. It's important to train yourself to tackle these exams with a confident and positive attitude. In 2/3 years you'll be sitting the Leaving Cert, which could prove a bit more difficult. Use the Junior Cert as a practise ground for it. Don't beat yourself up if you do badly, there aren't many consequences to this, so use any bad marks (if you get them) to your advantage - don't see it as a bad thing, but rather something to learn from!
2. You won't even remember it soon
I know it might seem like the most important thing in your life right now, but I promise you it's not. If you ask anyone over the age of 16 if they can remember most of their Junior Cert, the majority will say they can't. The reality is that you'll forget all this very soon after it's done, which proves that it's not something to cause you major stress.
Once the exam is over, don’t think about it anymore. It’s done, it’s over, so there’s no need to be stressing yourself out over something you have no power over anymore. I know it’s tempting, but dissecting the exams with their friends afterwards usually just makes people feel they did worse than they actually did!
3. You're not alone
Sometimes during the Junior Cert, it seems like it’s just too much study and you can’t handle it. Just remember, you’re not the first and you’re not the last person to sit the Junior Cert! Students have felt exactly like you before, and they’ve made it through OK, so can you!
If you feel you’re really struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone, an older sibling or friend perhaps. They can tell you how they managed to conquer the Junior Cert, just like every other Irish student.
4. It affects some people more than others
Everyone’s Junior Cert experience is different, some people are very lucky and they sail through it with ease, others don’t. It’s important to consider this amongst your friends. Is everyone coping OK? It might be a good idea to have an open conversation about it with your friends, see if you can get or give support to anyone who might be finding it too much.
Some people may feel really alone if they’re struggling while none of their friends are, others may feel pressured to do well by their family, everyone is different. The important thing is that you let your friends know that they have someone to talk to if it gets too much. If you're feeling too much pressure from your family or teachers, the best thing to do is talk about it! Try to have a reasonable conversation about it with whoever is putting you under pressure, put your well-being first. :)
Don’t feel afraid to reach out, even to us here at Studyclix, if you don't feel comfortable with anyone else. The worst thing is holding back all your worries and emotions, because they will build up and cause you a lot of stress, which is the last thing you need.
5. It's not the end of the world if it doesn't go well
Although many make it out to be one of the biggest events in your life, it's not. Sometimes, the exams just won’t go your way, and you won’t get the results you were hoping for. These things happen, that’s life.
What’s important to remember is that it’s not the end of the world. If, on the day of the results, you don’t get what you're hoping for, don't worry! You know you did your best and can now move on from these results and work hard on getting the results you want for the Leaving Cert.
Sometimes, it’s important to just take a step back and put things in perspective. Is doing badly in the Junior Cert the worst thing that could ever happen to you? No. Life goes on and a bad result is only a tiny little blip in the run of your life. There are more important things, please remember that and don't be so hard on yourself!
Finally, breathe and relax. You'll do great, you just need to be confident and focused. 😊
All the best in your exams!
Eimear and the Studyclix Team