Studying for the Junior Certificate - Rebecca O'Keeffe
My name is Rebecca O'Keeffe. I am currently a Transition Year student at Blackwater Community School in Lismore. In 2016 I sat my Junior Certificate. I walked into school on the first day of the year and was amazed at how the teachers had suddenly become so serious during classes. We had an assembly on that first morning and the principal announced that it was just over 100 school days until the Junior Cert began. He told us to study hard and give it our best attempt.
The home-work was piled on from that first day, with one to two hours (on a good night). It seemed that teachers thought the more work they gave the better results we would get and the more we would learn, which wasn't always the case. Some students had to stay up until twelve o'clock or after it just to get assignments completed on time.
As the year went by I soon found myself getting worried about completing work. I discovered that I would arrive home, exhausted after school, facing home-work and two hours of study. The way that suited me to deal with it was to make a timetable and stick to it as best as I could. I studied two subjects every night and set a timer for an hour on my phone. When that timer went off I stopped studying. I tried to take it a day at a time and just make it through the week with my home-work ready to hand in and my study done. Having a plan clearly laid out definitely helped to clear my mind and calm my nerves. When the weekend came around I tried to relax as best as I could, I didn't usually do any school work, except maybe a small bit of art or projects in which the deadline was coming closer.
For me personally Art was a stressful subject. I thoroughly enjoyed it in first and second year and liked the freedom it gave me to be creative, however once third year came along it became an constant worry of completing drawings and trying to make everything look perfect, I always felt under pressure and behind everyone else in my class.
Another subject I found difficult was Maths. I ended up getting grinds which definitely helped to calm my nerves and they made me feel a lot more prepared for the summer.
It wasn't all doom and gloom, there were subjects I loved and I enjoyed going to those classes. History was a subject that I particularly liked, I found it incredibly interesting learning about the past and discussing it in such a relaxed environment. It was one of the subjects that I didn't mind studying because I found that it was like reading a book and following the story through time.
The Pres came and went. They gave us our first real glimpse at what was in store for us at the end of the year. Our Pres were scheduled for the week before and after the February midterm. During that week off for the midterm I think I studied around six hours a day, which looking back on it may have been a bit excessive.
I started studying at the beginning of the year and this worked well for me as by the time the Junior Cert came around I felt that I had given the year my best effort and that I had prepared myself the best I could.
The final day of the Junior Cert was amazing. It was such a relief to walk out the school doors and know that it was over and I had survived. Looking back on the year now I realise how quickly it actually went by despite all the hard work and the stress.
The best advice I could give anyone would be to try your best and don't compare yourself to others as everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Make sure you make time for yourself, if you play sports or have a hobby keep that up throughout the year as you will need a break now and then and sometime to relax and not worry about school. When it is all over, enjoy your summer and try not to worry too much about your results.
I also know that the day the results come out can be nerve-wracking, but your grades will reflect your best efforts so don't stress, just make sure you work hard and give it your best attempt and you will have nothing to worry about.
Trust me, the year flies and I know at times it may not feel that way but the best piece of advice I received was "It will come and it will go". This helped me immensely to stay relaxed and realise that this worry won't last forever. In turn I found it easier to study when I was calm and it was easier to intake information.
In conclusion, try your best and stay calm. Best of luck!
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