The Do's - 10 tips to help you ace your junior or leaving cert exam technique banner

The Do's - 10 tips to help you ace your junior or leaving cert exam technique

Now is the time to make sure you have everything you need to know to get your exam technique perfected. Here's 10 tips to help you ace your junior or leaving cert exam technique. 

The 10 do's of exam technique

#1 Get your timings right

One of the biggest challenges facing students every year is getting the timing right so that you have enough time to answer all questions you need to. Come up with a clear time guide and write it on the front cover of your exam paper showing the actual time you should be starting each question. Then, in the middle of the exam you will be able to look at your watch and easily see how many questions you should have done at that time. 


#2 Bring everything you need

It may sound simple but a lot of stress can be avoided by making sure you’ve everything you need to do the exam the following day. Make a check list the night before each exam.  It's a good idea to bring some snacks in to the exam hall. Bananas and cereal bars are good. Avoid bringing noisy foods such as crisps that will distract everyone else!


#3 Get the basics right

Okay, you’ve heard it a million times before but make sure you get the basics right. Read the questions carefully, underline key parts, and put your exam number on your answer booklet. Get familiar with the layout of the exam paper. Some papers are tricky and complicated instructions could throw you on the day. Know the meanings of the key question words. Check out our recent  blog post on understanding   the main words being used in the questions. 


#4 Use studyclix!

Okay, well we would say that wouldn’t we!  But the whole point of studyclix is to help students study better. The evening before a subject go through that subject topic by topic. Look at a question, try answer and then view the marking scheme to see if you would have gotten full marks. 


# 5 Do the easiest questions first

There is no reason to do the questions in the order they are printed in the exam.  There are a couple of reasons for this; firstly, getting the first question done well will help calm you and get you focused for the rest of the exam. Secondly, Often you will get an easy question done quicker so you will be ahead of schedule form the start. It also means that by the end of the exam you will likely have more time to spend on the more difficult questions.


#6 Jog your short-term memory

The night before the exam is not the time to be trying to get your head around new concepts. You should be cramming keywords to jog your memory. Hopefully you will have distilled your notes into a couple of summary sheets. Go through these and try and tie the information together.


#7 Prepare your body

Two 3 hour exams a day, day after day will leave you feeling drained both mentally and physically. You need to prepare your body as well as mind for a lot of activity. Stuffing yourself with high sugar drinks and sweets will be fine for the first hour but you’ll be completely out of energy by the middle of the exam. Instead, try to eat slow energy release foods such as bread, pasta, porridge and fruit.


#8 Ask the invigilator

If you’re stuck on the meaning of a word or can't understand what a question requires you to do. Put your hand up and ask the invigilator who is supervising the exams. More often than not they’ll help you or point you in the right direction.


#9 Look at the marking scheme

Keep an eye out for the marking scheme that shows how many marks are being awarded for each part of a question. If there are only a small amount of marks going for a part of a question then there is no point on writing a long answer, your time is better spent on parts with higher marks.


#10 If you're running out of time

Supposing you find yourself with the time for only one question but two questions are left to do. The best thing you can do here is to do the first half of both questions. You gain way more marks in the first half of a question than at the end. Also if time is tight bullet points can be a great way of getting the information down as quickly as possible. 


Best of luck in the exams!