Leaving and Junior Cert: 6 things you need to know

Abandoned by the sun gods? Read our Junior and Leaving Cert Examwatch digest instead!

The  claim that the arrival of the State Examinations automatically coincides with a spell of good weather for the rest of the country has been well and truly dispelled this year. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

The claim that the arrival of the State Examinations automatically coincides with a spell of good weather for the rest of the country has been well and truly dispelled this year. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

1. The sun gods spare our students... for now

Every year, Ireland puts another cohort of (mostly) young people and their families through the deeply painful rites of passage that are the Leaving and Junior Certs.

Little do they know the real reason: their suffering is actually a ritual sacrifice to the sun gods.

It is the only way we can hope to see the hot yellow sky ball from this soggy little island.

This sacrifice of our young is why, year after year, we talk of “Leaving Cert weather” and plan our weddings and holidays around the virtual guarantee of sunshine in the first half of June, while exam students look wistfully out the well-lit window. Their pain, our gain.

But have the sun gods abandoned us lately?

The bank holiday weekend was a washout in large parts of the country and the outlook for the rest of the week is mostly rain, wind and thunder. Rain every day. The sun gods don’t seem pleased. What’s going on?

Aidan Murphy of Met Éireann says that while there are average patterns for June, there is not an identifiable weather pattern particularly associated with the Leaving Cert.

So maybe the sun gods are not satisfied with the pain we inflict on our children. Perhaps they are angered with all this talk of easing the pressure on young people and reforming our outdated exam system.

Yes, maybe it’s time to double down on the suffering and ratchet up the misery. Otherwise, we’ll never get a bit of colour.

2. Today’s exam schedule

Leaving Cert:

Engineering. (9.30 - 12.00/12.30pm)

English paper two. (9.30 - 5.20pm

Junior Cert:

Irish paper one (9.30 - 11.30am)

Irish paper two (2 - 3.30pm)

3. Tweet of the day 

@Irishpresident: Tip: 20 minutes into your English paper, ask for some graph paper. It’ll totally freak everyone else out #Leaving Cert #JuniorCert - Sage advice courtesy of a parody account of President Michael D. Higgins

4. Number of the day 

17 The number of Leaving Cert students due to sit today’s Ancient Greek paper

5. Time to stock up on your beta-carotene

Parents, it turns out, sometimes do have a clue about a thing or two.

Remember being told repeatedly to eat your greens? Well, experts say carrots, leafy greens and fruits rich in Vitamin C are best for exam performance.

This may come as news to the thousands of exam students who are gorging on glucose tablets and chocolate-covered coffee beans.

Again, experts say these can cause a sugar crash and impair your performance.

Specsavers Ireland also has also issued eyecare tips for students with tired eyes or vision problems.

Its key advice is to reduce eye strain with the 20-20-20 rule. Take 20 seconds to look at something 20 feet away and repeat this every 20 minutes.

Another good exercise, it says, is to simply rest your eyes in the palm of your hands for a few minutes, making sure that no light leaks through.

Of course, you may already have your head in your hands if that poem you banked on coming up in English paper two is conspicuously absent.

6. Last-minute advice for Friday’s papers

Maths paper one: “Don’t assume that the more difficult parts of each question will carry the highest marks. Marks can sometimes be allocated more heavily towards the earlier, easier parts of a question. So take care to pick up all marks on the easy stuff, and if other parts seem difficult, make sure to have a go at every element of every question. ‘Attempt’ marks can contribute hugely to maximising your final grade.” – Eamonn Toland, TheMathsTutor.ie

Geography: “Make sure to have a clear plan for your timing in the exam. Leaving Cert geography requires you to write multiple essays which can mean students frequently run out of time and are forced to leave questions out.” – Luke Saunders, founder of Studyclix.ie and a teacher at Jesus and Mary Secondary School, Enniscrone, Sligo.