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Junior Cert Advice

  • 11-07-2018 12:38am
    Registered Users Posts: 1 pencil119

    I've seen a lot of these threads floating around for the leaving recently, and not so much for the JC. I got 10 As in my Junior Cert a while back, so I thought I'd share some of the best advice I got.

    This seems self explanatory, but listen in class and do all of your homework at least up until the mocks. Good teachers aren't there to waste your time so everything you do up to the mock is very important and worth doing. However, after the mocks I stopped doing homework for some classes if it was on a topic I knew I wasn't covering. Teachers can be understanding and at the end of the day it's your exam and you know what's a waste of time for you.

    I never bothered with grinds, although a lot of people I knew did Easter courses in the Institute and swore by them. Honestly I don't think it's worth it given the amount of resources that are available online. Some people took grinds in maths just so they could stay in HL for the year, so if you're very weak you could consider doing that.

    Some people dropped to OL Irish during third year but I would advise against it because it really is manageable and it shuts off degrees like primary teaching in the future. So if you're considering dropping down, then just make sure you're ok with never entering a national school again!

    For the mock, pay close attention to what you cover in class the week before. If your class is rushing through a topic, then it's definitely coming up and is worth a look over. There's 2 main mock papers that circulate, and generally you'll have friends in another school sitting the same mock as you a day or two before. In my opinion, only ask them what's on the paper if you're really in a bad place, or you're facing your weakest subject. The practice of not knowing what's coming up and dealing with it on the day will really stand to you.

    I didn't do much for the mocks, just a bit the week before. I was studying a little bit throughout the entire year but looking back on it, the stuff I did in the early months was useless and only served to make me feel less stressed about the whole thing.

    In terms of actually studying, I have a few tips that I feel really made the difference between my mocks and the real thing:

    1. If you're learning an essay off by heart (cough cough Irish and people in history) get yourself 3 highlighters. Go through the essay and mark the key words and most important words all with 1 colour. These are the words that examiners love and will get you the marks. Then read through the essay aloud and literally shout out the highlighted words. Then get your 2nd highlighter and highlight other slightly less important words and repeat the reading aloud. Finally, get your third highlighter and highlight the rest of the words. These words should be purely filler and add nothing except sense to your essays. Keep reading the essay aloud, emphasizing different colour groups each time. I swear this got me through any writing parts of any length.

    2. Past papers are your new best friend. Buy the book of past papers for every subject at the start of the year even if they aren't on your booklist. If your teacher is ignoring them, start doing them after Christmas by yourself. The solutions are all available on and if you buy edco papers they come with little codes that can help you with the questions.

    3. If you have problem with any topics or concepts, google it and there will be a video or link to notes somewhere. If your teacher doesn't explain things in a way that works for you, it's all about getting creative.

    4. Make sure you understand the structure of the exam and know the timing. This is especially true for English and the like.

    5. In subjects like science, most of the textbooks are full of crap you really do not need to know. Luckily for me my teacher was a goddess and gave us notes. For science and geography I would recommend ignoring large parts of the book and bullying older friends for their notes. Once you get familiar with the exam and with the marking scheme, you figure out what you really need to know.

    6. Study timetables never worked for me. Study when you have time and at the weekend. Maintain a normal social life until at least your mocks. Your friends will keep you sane when your teachers make you go crazy, so don't get involved in too much drama and study when you can.

    7. Sleep is half the battle

    8. Mindset is the other half. I maintain that the only way I went from a low C to an A in maths from mocks to the real thing is because a girl I knew told me she went from a D to a B. Big leaps are completely possible with self belief.

    Finally, the JC is really not worth stressing over too much. It's worth bearing in mind that you can use good results to help you get work experience in TY. If you want to go to university in the UK or in Europe then they will check on your results. Other than that, it's nothing but a dry run and a springboard to bigger and better things.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Education Moderators Posts: 26,519 CMod ✭✭✭✭ spurious

    Not sure why you felt the need to take a dig at teachers, it just looks childish and takes away from the rest of your post.

    For the exam:

    Never put highlighter or Tippex anywhere near an exam paper.

    Use only blue or black pen for exams. If using pencil, use it only for diagrams.

    Read the question and answer the question you are asked.

    Make sure you know in advance the sections you need to answer and your options.

    Do not leave out mandatory questions.

    Do not write too much, for example on the 'People in History' question. Look at how many marks are on offer and tailor your answer accordingly.

    For History exams, write History answers, not dramatic accounts that belong more properly on an English paper.

    If leaving out parts of questions with the intention of going back and finishing them later, remember to do so.

    If you are running out of time at JC, you are writing too much.

    Avoid annoying the examiner.