The leaving cert exams can be one of the most stressful times in your school careers. Studying, homework, and trying to spend time with your family and friends as well. It can all seem more than a little overwhelming. These leaving cert English exam tips can help you keep your stress levels down, focus your mind, and enter your leaving cert exam feeling prepared. 

We have a number of articles on this topic, such as the Superprof guide to the English Leaving Cert

As well as this, we don't just cover the what to study, but also how to study, such as over on our article on how best to study for the English paper

Keep an eye on these pieces, as we include links to all of our other leaving cert English articles!

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How Can I Lower My Exam Stress

1. Plan Your Time

When you get your exam timetable, study it. Make sure that you know the order of your exams, and how they’re spread out across the weeks. This can help you plan your last-minute study sessions. 

2. Plan Your Study

Plan out how you’re going to study. Plan where you’ll study, and make sure that it’s the place that will be most productive for you. You’ll also need to make a study plan. This doesn’t need to be elaborate, colour-coded, or a huge detailed wall-hanging. In fact, you probably won’t have time at this point to develop a massively elaborate schedule. Instead, you need to prioritize your study schedule, and the topics you’re going to study. 

3. Group Work

Working in a group can be helpful for last-minute study. Divide the topics between all the members of the group, and then you can teach each other. 

4. Make A Routine

Leaving Cert English Study
Study Routine For Leaving Cert English. Source: pixabay.com

Make study part of your routine. Give yourself around 15 minutes before you begin to get yourself organized. You should also remember to switch your study subjects around, as this can help to keep your brain engaged. You’ll need to take a short five minute break in between subjects. You may also need to give yourself a longer ten to fifteen minute break, and do something completely different, like watch a YouTube video. 

Need help building a schedule? You can use this useful online schedule maker!

5. Sleep

It can be very tempting to stay up all night to study, but it’s a really terrible idea. A good night’s sleep can help your brain stay calm and clearer. If you find that your mind is racing, and you’re finding it difficult to sleep, you may need to use some sleep techniques. Try using lavender on your pillows, or listen to a relaxation podcast as you fall asleep. 

Still unsure as to what topics are covered in the English leaving cert exam?, click that link to help prepare yourself before you sit the exam!

 

Tips For The Leaving Cert English Exam

The next tips are for the leaving cert English exam specifically. They can help you think about how you’re going to answer the questions on the exam, and help you avoid pitfalls and errors that many students make. 

 

1. Make Your Answer Clear

When you’re faced with an exam question, and you know you have to make a page length count, it can be easy to make the mistake of losing clarity. You can become tempted to bulk your points up with many, many words. This is a mistake. It dilutes the point, and you can end up writing yourself in circles. 

 

Before you begin to write your answer, think about what your big point is going to be. You should also practice writing the answer, while only the writing the important points. It will take some practice but you will be able to meet the length requirement, and stick to clear, simple points. 

2. Keep It Simple

When you’re writing keep everything simple. Use simple words, make it easily understood, and keep your sentences short. Read through what you’ve written, and self-edit. Take out any unnecessary words. Every word that you write should earn its place in the sentence. It needs to add information, but it also can’t be overly wordy. 

3. Grab Attention

The first sentence needs to grab the attention of the reader. Or, in this case, the examiner’s attention. It’s kind of what makes the first impression on the examiner, and tells them what kind of leaving cert English student you are. 

4. Make A Plan

The first step in making a plan for your answers is to read the question. Then read it again. Then read it a third time, and underline the important points that need to be included in your answer. 

Leaving Cert English Plan
Plan Your Leaving Cert English Exam. Source: pixabay.com

After doing this you can plan out your answer. If it’s a short question, you could jot down some ideas in a bullet point form. For a longer question, you might want to use a page for a brainstorm diagram. Write down some ideas that you want to use for your introduction, your paragraphs and your conclusion. 

5. Know Your Poets

You’re probably not going to remember all of the poetry of the prescribed poets. In fact, it’s probably a bad idea to try. It’s only going to add to your exam stress. You’d also find it difficult to use more than five or six poems in the exam anyway. It can be a much better, less stressful idea to memorise five or six poems. Choose poems that can be used for multiple themes, topics, emotions or types of questions. If you’re not sure which of the poems would be best, ask your leaving cert English teacher, or your English tutor. 

Need to explore some more learning resources? We have compiled a list of online English notes full of information and tips!

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On The Day Of Your Leaving Cert English Exam

1. Bring Your Notes

Bring your notes with you on the morning of the exam. In fact, it can be a really good idea to make a condensed set of notes specifically for exam day. Make sure that these notes include any of the information that you’re struggling to retain. Notes for leaving cert English paper two absolutely need to include quotes, poems, and any points you feel are likely to come up on the paper. 

Usually you will have some time before the exam to go over your notes, read them, and memorise your quotes. Just make sure that you don’t actually take the notes into the exam. Make sure that they are outside the exam room in your bag when it’s time for the exam to start. 

2. Keep An Eye On The Time

Your leaving cert English exams will be all down to timing. Keep an eye on the time, and make sure that you’ve practiced writing answers with a timer. If you feel that timekeeping isn’t your strong suit, pick out your strongest questions. Answer them first. The examiner won’t care if you don’t answer the question in the order they appear on the paper. Just make sure that you clearly mark which question it is that you’re answering. 

3. Pay Attention To The Length Of Your Answers

The length of your answers does depend on the question you’ve been asked. However, there are some general guidelines that can help.

Paper One

 

Question Points Length Of Answer
Comprehension questions 10 Half a page
Comprehension questions 15 Three quarters of a page
Comprehension questions 20 A page to a page and a half
Question B 50 A page and a half to two pages
Composition 100 Four to six pages

 

Paper Two

 

Question Points Length Of Answer
Single Text 60 Four to five pages
Comparative Study 70 Five to seven pages
Unseen Poetry 20 A page to a page and a half
Studied Poetry 50 Three to four pages

 

Obviously, the length of your answer will have other determining factors as well. The size of your own handwriting, for example, but the tables above can help as a very general guideline. However, always remember that if you feel that your answer is becoming unnecessary waffle, stop writing. Try to keep your answers to the important points. 

 

Other Tips That Might Help You

1. Get A Tutor

If you need a little extra help with your leaving cert English exam, then you’re not alone. Many Leaving Cert English students benefit from a little extra help from a tutor. You can search for a tutor online. Superprof.ie makes finding a Leaving cert English tutor really easy. The tutors are verified, so you know that the tutor you choose actually has the qualifications needed for your tutoring sessions. There’s also an online payment option, which gives you more security. 

2. Read

Leaving Cert English Reading
Reading Before Leaving Cert English. Source: pixabay.com

Reading for pleasure can actually help you pass your leaving cert English exam. First of all, it will increase your vocabulary, without seeming like study. Secondly, it can help you relax, de-stress, and give you an escape from the pressures of your leaving cert year. 

3. Define Your Reasons For Study

This tip can help you keep motivated, especially as you get closer to the leaving cert. Think about what you want out of your leaving cert. Your reasons for studying should be central to you. People who are trying to please other people, or because they have a fear of failure find it much more difficult to stay motivated, and stay on task. Even if you don’t know what you want to do after your leaving cert, think about the options that a good leaving cert result will give you. 

4. Make Time For Yourself

This will probably be the hardest piece of advice to take, but make time for yourself. You need to spend some time doing things that you to do. You’ll burn out if you try to spend all your time studying, so if you want to take a half-hour break to play a video game, do it. If you need to spend an hour with your friends, don’t blow them off for studying. Find a balance between study, and other life activities. 

Find English Tutors at Superprof!

Having your very own tutor can help with all the above tasks! They can help you make a schedule, help you study and give you specific goals to keep you on track!

Superprof is one of the worlds largest tutoring databases with around 15 million tutors worldwide! It is free to look for your own tutor, and you will have plenty of choice, no matter where you are in the world!

Due to the high number of tutors on our books, you will be able to find some really competitive prices, with some English tutors charging around 10 euro per hour!

Many of these tutors have recently sat their own English exams, and can offer first hand tips on the English paper. This kind of mentoring is priceless! If you think this would benefit you, don't hesitate to start your search over on Superprof!

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