Covid-19 Coronavirus: How to tackle the state examinations

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Be prepared for the worst-case-scenario:

• At present, the government has issued statements informing that schools will be closed up until the end of March. However, the coronavirus outbreak will most likely get worse before it gets better, and from looking at how the virus has progressed in other countries, it would seem very likely that schools could be closed for months. Therefore, students must not wait around for schools to re-open, they must take things into their own hands and continue to work at home.

• As of writing this, the Department of Education has not released any changes to the current Junior or Leaving Certificate timetable, so it should be assumed that these are continuing as planned for the moment.


Plan for Everything:

• Students need to assume that they will not be returning to school before the exams in June and plan appropriately. Every topic that they have yet to cover in each subject should be taken note of, and a schedule should be made outlining how and when they are going to tackle each of these topics alone. In school, teachers usually have the coursework completed by the start of May, so students should aim to have everything covered by then in order to leave time for revision.

• It is also important not to forget about everything you have learned to date. I would advise that students spend the morning learning new material as they would be doing if they were in school and then spend the evening revising topics that have been covered previously.


Autonomous learning:

• Students need to have faith in themselves. A lot of the stuff learned in school is not particularly complicated, and in most cases, students would be well capable of reading ahead and covering topics alone.


Don’t be afraid to ask for help:

• There are going to be certain topics that students will struggle with in school even with the help of their teachers, so issues are sure to arise when students try to tackle these topics at home. Students shouldn’t be afraid to turn to their parents, siblings or friends for help. There are also many good resources available online. For example, if any students are struggling with Leaving Cert maths, there are over 150 maths tutorials on the ExamLearn YouTube account.


Become familiar with past exam papers and study appropriately:

• When working at home alone, students should look to be taking as many shortcuts as possible. Although this may not always be advised, desperate times call for desperate measures. By looking through past exam papers and identifying re-occurring patterns, students could decide to leave out entire topics in sections of papers where an option is given. It would be much more time efficient to focus on the topics that have already been covered in school, as opposed to spending hours learning new topics that could be ignored in the exam anyway.


• On Examlearn.ie students can access exam papers divided up by topic for free, this feature is very useful for deploying the above technique.

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