Surviving the Leaving Cert – How to Study and Stay Healthy

The leaving certificate is looming and a lot of you suddenly feel as though your whole life has been taken over by work and study, study and work. Rest and play have annoyingly left the building and the mountain of books and notes balancing on your desk are threatening to engulf you at any moment.

Sound familiar? If so you are not on your own, many people find the whole idea of exams overwhelming to say the least. So, what can you do to give yourself the best chance of success? Follow our simple guide to staying healthy and sane and tackle the leaving cert with gusto and confidence.

Get Your Beauty Sleep.
Don’t underestimate the power of sleep, if you are yawning your way through revision you aren’t doing yourself any favours. A tired brain can’t suck up the information that a rested brain can. Stay sharp and focused by getting a good night of shut-eye.

Water Your Brain.
Your brain is made up of around 75% water, and your body is composed of around 70%, we are in essence just like giant water bottles, and we need to top ourselves up regularly to make sure we stay fresh and fit. It’s essential to remain hydrated and a lack of water can have a negative impact on the performance of your grey matter. If you are struggling to concentrate or find your mind wandering when you should be studying it could be due to the fact that you are dehydrated. Lack of water can also lead to memory problems, headaches, issues with sleep patterns and low mood. Frequently water your brain and your body, it’s the easiest way to stay focused and healthy.

Feed it Too!
Been skipping the odd meal? Living off greasy burgers, bags of crisps and family size bars of chocolate? We know you’re busy but studying is no excuse for sporadic and unhealthy eating. Start the day right and make yourself a tasty and filling breakfast – an omelette, granola with fresh yoghurt, a fruit salad, all great ways of giving your body a healthy and welcoming boost before you face the morning.
Don’t think you can get by on a coffee, skipping breakfast is a sure-fire way of welcoming brain-fog and that’s the last thing you need when you are trying to retain important info and facts.

Stick with What You Know.
The leaving cert isn’t really the time to showcase a new writing style or play around with words you aren’t sure of. You have spent the last few years developing your own style – the least you can do is stay true to your technique and trust in your methods. Practise often does make perfect, so believe in yourself and be confident that you so know the best way to cope with and answer the questions in front of you.

Embrace Music.
Forget hip-hop and heavy metal -it’s far too hard on the brain. Revision music should be uplifting with a sense of calm, it should put you at ease and help you filter out the more distracting or annoying sounds around you. Choose tunes that inspire and enthuse you.

Don’t Panic.
To coin a phrase made famous by Corporal Jones in Dads Army “Don’t Panic!” Learn to recognise your feelings. If you start to feel stressed take a moment – breathe deeply and try and empty your mind of negative thoughts. Visualise success. Your hard work and study has lead up to this moment, it’s your moment and it’s time to make your mark.