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Big Kids

03rd Jun 2019

Last minute preparation: How to help your child get ready to sit their exam

ready for exam

The Eleventh Hour

As the exams are about to kick off from June 5th, it is the time for students to make their last-minute plans before the Junior Cert and Leaving Cert exams kick off.

Preparation is key, for sure, but even the most prepared student can feel a bit nervous as the first day of the exams approach. So in order to be best prepared, it is important to help your children manage their time well to maximise the revision they can do between now and D-Day.

We checked in with the experts at for their best advice on how to manage the last 24 hours before the exams:

Rest: It is important to be fully rested. And look – we all know there is a temptation to stay up all night cramming for an exam – that just doesn’t work. Make your child go to bed early, before midnight – so they get at least seven or eight hours’ sleep – and instead encourage them to get up early and do some studying then. Remember: If they are over-tired it is very difficult to concentrate during the exam and making mistakes while answering questions could be very likely.

Eat well: Eating a healthy diet in the run up to the exam is beneficial – having a good breakfast (eggs, toast, porridge, oatmeal) on the exam morning is crucial – but make sure they don’t overeat as that overfull feeling down will not be helpful in the exam as it could leave them feeling groggy.

The experts at also has the following tips to pass on to your kids for last-minute study:

  • Don’t try studying the complete course – just study notes that you have made to reduce the course into manageable bits
  • Don’t just focus on hints which you have been given about what will come up on the paper.

On the day try to be relaxed as possible, so take some quiet time to calm yourself.

Prepare for the practicalities of exam day. Ensure that you have everything with you for the exam – pens, pencils, rulers, calculators etc and check your exam number. Make sure that you will arrive at the exam hall in plenty of time – the last thing you need is a last-minute rush into the exam hall. Bring a small bottle of water (or your preferred drink) in with you into the exam.

Print off a copy of the exam timetable and stick it to the fridge at home so that you won’t miss an exam. Take account of school regulations about dressing for the exams but make sure you are comfortable.


During the exam be sure to:

  • Write clearly. You can only get marks for the writing that they can read
  • Answer the question that is asked, you won’t get any marks if you don’t answer the questions asked.
  • Consider that you are trying to impress someone that knows nothing about the subject. Try to explain it as simply as you can.
  • If you are running out of time, at least write some key words and phrases. Blank answers get no marks.
  • Put your exam number on all your rough work and hand it up with your exam book. You may have written some nugget of information in your rough work and forgotten to re-write it into your actual final answer. This could gain you a few marks which could bring your grade up to the next level.

After the exam:

Please avoid dissecting the paper with your friends once you have left the exam hall. There is no point because that exam is over and there is nothing you can do about it. Your answer may be different to others and this could throw your confidence for future exams.

If you have another exam in the afternoon, go out and get some fresh air between the exams – it will help to clear your head and reduce your levels of stress.

Anxiety is a completely normal feeling around your exams but it is best to focus on what you know and what you don’t know. All you can do is your best – think positive and believe in yourself. If, however, you are feeling totally overwhelmed talk to someone – family member, friend or a teacher.

Parents: Be mindful of transferring anxiety onto students doing their exams – look out for signs that your student is suffering from stress. Don’t insist they do their household chores during the exams – there will be plenty of time afterwards.

Finally, we would like to wish everyone the very best of luck in their exams. We hope that we were able to help with the advice we have given over the past few weeks. When they are all over, we wish you the very best of luck in the future! specialises in providing study tools and premium study content for the Junior and Leaving Certificate students. The standard features are free, while the Premium users also have access to premium study notes, exam papers, aurals, MCQs, exam creator, video tutorials and sample exam papers.