Leaving Cert

5th Year - How to get a head start

By Eimear Dinneen - 3 minute read

5th year represents an excellent opportunity to get set up for the final year.  Although many of you will have completed TY and aren't certain on how to get back into study mode, you don’t need to panic!  You'll be back on track in no time. 

In this blog, the Students Coach discusses the things that you should to pay attention to this year.

1. Subject Choice

Now is the time to pay attention to and get a feel for the subjects you have chosen.  If a particular subject just doesn’t sit well with you or perhaps appears to be too difficult, now is the time to seek a change.  It is essential to get the mix of subjects right!

2. Career of Choice

Next year you will be under pressure to make applications for colleges etc. You really want to use this year wisely to investigate careers of choice for you. To get started, I recommend the following:

Ask yourself a few questions such as:

  • What job would I love if I could choose any career?

  • What job(s) would I hate to do?

  • What environment can I imagine myself working in?

  • What are my strengths?

  • What key elements would form part of my ideal job?

Use a recommended career inventory test

Good tests don’t have to cost much – most schools will have recommended inventory tests available to students. Ask your guidance counsellor. If not, check out The Student Coach’s website.

Book an appointment with a guidance counsellor

It is important to discuss any ideas with a good guidance counsellor who will help you to get focused on your strengths, values, passions etc., and relate this information to possible careers.

To further clarify career/s of interest, you really should get some experience

E.g. You can shadow a student or professional, interview a professional or attend summer schools in the courses of interest.  Colleges have taster days available on particular courses. 5th year is also an ideal time to visit colleges and get a feel for them. Avoid open days and visit them on a typical college day. Some colleges will even make a professional available to talk to you, if you contact them beforehand.

3. Managing Subjects

Most of you will be starting with 7 subjects, and many of these will be at higher level. Over the next two years, you will accumulate a lot of information, notes, handouts, etc. Here are some key points to get you started:  


The volume of information is immense across seven subjects.  Form a habit of summarising each segment or topic as it is discussed in class. Write clear summaries and keep them in a file – clearly labelled. They will be a life saver by the time the Leaving Certificate exam comes around.

Past Paper Questions (ppq)

It is never too early to start practising ppq. In fact, a lot of students start too late. For most subjects, you should practise ppq after each topic - it will make the difference in getting an excellent grade versus a mediocre grade. Studyclix helps you do this easily by having all of the questions from your subjects categorised into topics, so you can study without the hassle.

Studyclix Quizzes are also a great tool to help test your knowledge. They can help you figure out what you know already and what topics you need to work harder on. Take the test and see how you get on!

The Students Coach has developed a one-stop-shop to provide a comprehensive support programme for all senior cycle students guidance and study needs. Check out their Career Club where you are fully supported, guided, informed and advised though-out the 2 senior cycle years, until you are started in college or otherwise.  

Good luck with the year ahead!

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