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Preparing a study plan for Leaving Certificate

A Leaving Cert study plan should not consist of last minute cramming, anxiety attacks and ending with a lots of desperate prayer. The best time to start a study plan is right now. Whether it is 5 weeks before or 5 months, creating a schedule that will help you manage your time more effectively, keep you motivated, is accessible on whatever device you work best from, is guaranteed to give you the best exam success.

Here at we’ve done our homework and put together a guide on preparing a study plan for Leaving Cert students this year:

There are plenty of apps, study templates, calendars and websites that claim they are the best study planners for you. But before you go downloading or signing up to these platforms, there are few offline methods you can try first.

1. Flexible Timetable:

A study plan is basically a timetable of how you’ll divide your time between subjects. Creating a study plan that is too rigid or impossible to stick to, will cause you to derail quickly. Create a subject rota that is also flexible for you and factors in emergencies(like falling asleep). Start with pencil and paper and make a draft outline which you can edit later.

2. Break it up:

Instead of thinking subjects as endless oceans of information that you must cram inside your brain, start by dividing subjects into chunks of information that you break off the larger whole. Example chunk for Friday: ‘English’ topic ‘Seamus Heaney Poems’.

3. No Junk Food!

Although it might be tempting to reach for a sugary soft drink or chocolate bar to give you that quick hit, studies show that relying on junk food and skipping meals will only drain you, leaving you depleted and unable to concentrate. Read more about healthy eating during exams here.

4. Find the right study room:

No, you can’t study in front of the TV or in a busy kitchen. Find a quiet space, home office/bedroom, school library, etc with minimal sound and distractions.

5. Study in two hours chunks:

If you spend too long on a subject you’ll lose focus. Simple.

Preparing your Study Schedule:

1. When creating a schedule remember to factor in break times. We tend to lose focus after a intense level of study. Taking a ten/fifteen minute break every hour or so will help you get back on track. Have a drink or snack or take a short walk.

2. Stick to the hour. Schedule subjects at 9.00am, 10.00am, 11.00am. If you study for 1.50 mins you can schedule your break for ten minutes in between subjects. (It is a lot simpler than 15.09 “ALGEBRA”)

3. When are you most alert? If you are a late riser then starting your day at 9.00am will be hard to stick to. If you work better in the evenings then create a schedule that finds you at your most focused.

4. Plan your rewards too. When making a schedule make sure you give yourself rewards for sticking to it. Simple rewards will keep you motivated weekly.

5. Keep flash cards and mind maps handy on each subject to help you quickly revise when you begin a new subject on your planner.

Remember to stay focused and not scold yourself for taking time to relax either. Dont despair if you neglected your plan for a few days. You can always go back on schedule. Keep calm and carry on with your study plan!