How to Ace the Junior & Leaving Certs!

Mock Examination Time…….

Advice for Your Mock Exams (3rd and 6th Years)

With your lack of experience of completing examination papers, it is important to take some time to contemplate the following before sitting your mocks:

♣ Attend school for every single paper of the mocks.
♣ Create a timing plan for each individual question on the paper and stick to it.
♣ Be realistic about your results as it is relatively early in the year.
♣ Eat and exercise well to give you plenty of energy for the exam hall and revision each evening.
♣ Don’t forget to have a look over some of the topics you covered in second/fifth year as they are now back on the table also.
♣ Have an idea what order you plan on completing the questions in – Start with a question you like or with something that is familiar to you.
♣ Keep the main focus of your study on the final goal, which is the Junior/Leaving Certificate in June. It is a marathon not a sprint and the students that pace themselves well will do better.
♣ Revise some sections of the course well instead of attempting to cover the whole course broadly.
♣ It’s ok to make errors in the mocks as you’ve time later to learn from them. Making mistakes and forgetting things are all part of the mock process, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
♣ You don’t have to be super talented to do well in exams. We now know that hard work and studying smarter is more important. Practice and repetition are key attributes to success for any student no matter how talented they are. It is true that hard work can beat talent if talent doesn’t work hard enough.
♣ ‘Control the Controllable’s’. As you head into the mocks; get your energy levels up, have all your materials in place for each subject and ensure the house is stocked with good foods – these are the things you can control. You can also control how much study you do and how you react to setbacks; so much of the preparation is in your hands. As with any exam paper, you have no control over what questions are asked, so try not to worry about what ‘might’ come up.

Advantages of Doing the Mock Exams

Many students feel that the mock exams are an inconvenience seeing them as two weeks study lost. Inevitably there are pros and cons to sitting them, but they will focus the mind for the months ahead. If during the mocks you find yourself demotivated, tired, anxious or disinterested, I can assure you that when state exam day comes, you will have greatly benefited and learned from the experience. Here are some heartening reasons to persevere with the mocks:

♣ The mocks will serve as a wake-up call and motivate you to commence revision now.
♣ The mocks will be an experience you will learn a great deal from.
♣ The mocks will help you identify topics you need to study.
♣ The mocks will test if your revision strategies are working.
♣ The mocks will familiarise you with the pressure of exams.
♣ The mocks will show you the areas you have good knowledge in.
♣ The mocks will gauge your performance against the clock.
♣ The mocks will allow you to practice exam techniques learned.
♣ The mocks will boost your confidence for success later.
♣ The mocks will show your teacher the areas you need help in.
♣ The mocks will get you familiar with the timing of a full paper.
♣ The mocks will give you an insight into the marking scheme of each paper.
♣ The mocks will increase your awareness of course content.
♣ The mocks will serve as an indicator to the quality of your study.

 Mocks Will Guide Level Choice

Another big advantage of having sat through the mocks is it will help you decide what paper level you should choose, especially in relation to the Leaving Cert. Deciding levels is a tricky issue for students every year and involves many considerations. I would advise you to think about and discuss it with as many people as you can but especially with your parents and teachers before attempting any potential change. Along with mock performance, here are some other considerations you need to reflect on when making decisions regarding levels:

♣ Your teacher’s opinion.
♣ Any ‘potential’ points change which may affect later choices.
♣ Your own gut feeling about the subject.
♣ How much do you enjoy studying the subject.
♣ How much of the course you have completed and your attendance in class thus far.
♣ Results in previous class, Christmas and summer tests over the last two years.
♣ The amount of effort you are putting into the subject balanced against the other subjects.
♣ Minimum course requirements for college (e.g. Maths requirement of H7 for a given course).

…Partial extracts from ‘Chapter 3: The Mocks’ of Joe McCormack’s book “How to ACE the Leaving Certificate” for all subjects.

For more Information on Joe’s ever popular ACE Maths Solution books and other work, see or follow him on Facebook for free links and Secondary School resources



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