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Exam Tips

Some people spend lots of time revising and making sure they are ready for their exams only to miss out on marks due to poor exam technique. Here are our exam tips to make sure you maximise your marks!

1. Read the Question

How many times have you missed an important part of a question because you didn’t read the question carefully enough? Countless students throw away marks by misreading the exam question. To make sure you can avoid this we recommend active reading. That means that you read the question with a pen in hand, underlining the important parts. This should help to make sure you don’t skim

over important details. As well as this we would also recommend that after taking down an equation from a question, check that you have done so correctly, we’ve all been guilty of making mistakes when taking things down, and we don’t want you to lose valuable marks for such a small mistake!

2. Write Something!

Never leave a question blank. The Leaving Cert maths paper is marked using a ‘partial credit system’ which awards any progress towards the right answer, so you can often get 50%-80% of the available marks going for a question even when your final answer is wrong. If you haven’t a clue how to start it, just write out the details they have given you in the question. Then go to your maths tables book and write out any relevant equations you can find. Simple things like this might gain you a few marks if you’re lucky and, you never know, it might spark an idea in your brain as to how to answer the question!

3. Have the right equipment

Make sure to bring a working calculator, a ruler, a few working pens and most importantly your Maths Tables Book.

4. Know your timings

The rule of thumb for the Leaving Cert timing is that you divide the number of marks the question is worth by two and that is the number of minutes you have to spend on the question. It is important to note though, that this is not an absolute rule, some questions will be a lot quicker and some may take a bit more time. The main thing to bear in mind is not to get stuck on a question for too long. If you are really struggling, move on and come back to it if you have time. It is also worth remembering that the final sections of questions can often be the most time consuming while being worth the fewest marks, so, if you’re struggling, you can be better off moving on and spending that time elsewhere.

5. Don’t get discouraged

Maths can often come down to confidence. If you don’t think you can do a question, it often leads to you giving up even though you are well able to get it right. It is important not to get discouraged. If you open up the paper and can’t do the first question that does not mean that you won’t be able to do the rest of it. Each question is completely separate so try to approach each one believing that you will be able to figure it out!

6. Sleeping is better than cramming

You need to be on the ball when tackling a 2.5 hour maths paper. Some students stay up late the night before exams trying to cram in some last minute study. We would always say that a fresh brain is going to gain you more marks than anything you learn in your late night study. This is especially true when it comes to Maths, where you are relying on a fresh mind to solve problems. So, we would encourage you not to stay up studying and get to bed at your normal time the night before an exam.

7. Forget About The Exam

Once you’ve sat an exam, try to avoid carrying out a post mortem. Don’t ask your friends what they got and don’t try to figure out where you went wrong. Once the exam is over, there’s nothing you can do. You are better off focusing on the next exam or, if it’s your last one, enjoying a well deserved break!



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