Join us at Higher Options to win a laptop

studyclix will be at the Irish Times Higher Options, which takes place on September 19, 20 & 21 in the RDS helping students to find out all they need to know about higher and further level education. 

We’re at Stand 29; we’d love to meet you so please drop by to say hello and enter our competition for a chance to win a great new laptop*

If you can’t make it to the exhibition you can still enter by joining studyclix before September 30th. 

We hope to see you at the RDS.

*see terms & conditions here

Junior cert results - 10 things we now know

At last the wait is over. Congratulations to everyone who got their junior cert results today. So what did we learn from the results?

# 1. There’s more people doing the exam

The class of 2012 was 3 per cent bigger with 58,798 students taking the exam.

# 2. Higher Maths is growing in popularity

In line with department wishes, the numbers taking higher maths is up 7 per cent on last year.

# 3. English is the most popular subject

Like in Maths, the numbers taking higher English is growing and more sat Higher English this year than in any of the last five years.

# 4. The “easiest” subject is Home Economics

With over 95 per cent of higher students getting an honour, Home Economics students do better than any other subject.

# 5. The other “easy” subjects…

As well as Home Economics, Art, Religious Education, Metalwork, Woodwork and Music all score well with over 85 per cent of higher students getting an honour.

# 6. The “hardest” subject was French…

The honours rate in Higher French was the lowest of all subjects with only 69 per cent getting an A,B or C.  Those at ordinary level faired even worse with over 12 per cent failing.

#7 The perfect 12…

Nineteen students aced their junior cert, each achieving 12 A grades.

#8 We’re doing better at Maths.

The trends in Maths are on the up with declining failure rates as well as a slight increase in the numbers taking the higher paper.

#9 You can still get your result checked.

If you feel you have been marked unfairly you can still apply to get your papers rechecked. Rechecks are made through your school and must be filed by 28 September.

#10 You can go out and celebrate now!

After all that stress and study you deserve to let the hair down and celebrate. Remember that if you must drink , that you do so in moderation,  keep an eye out for your friends and make sure a parent knows where you are.  

 

 

How to study for your junior or leaving cert exams

It’s only a couple of weeks left until the start of the exams so we’ve put together some sound advice that might help you with last minute study and help you get through the exams.

Look over your mock papers

It probably seems like a long time ago now but doing mocks is one of the best exam warm ups you can do. Take out your mock paper and see where you lost marks. If you did better than you expected, don’t get complacent and ignore that subject, it may just have been a lucky paper that suited your class.


 Do not leave out questions

From experience, the main reason students underperform in exams is not because they answer questions badly but because they leave out questions. As a rule of thumb, every long question you leave out will drop you by a grade.  


 Do not run out of time

Easier said than done I know but managing your time in the exam is vital if you are not to leave out questions. Your teacher will probably give you a breakdown of how much time to spend on each question. A good trick I have used is to write your question schedule with actual times onto the cover of your answer book while the papers are being handed out. This way, if you look at your watch and it’s say 11:10 you know exactly how much of your exam you should have done.  Also, make sure you stick to your schedule, so many students run overtime perfecting answers maybe gaining 3 marks at the expense of not doing a whole 50-mark question.

 Timing is especially important in essay-based exams such as English and Geography where time management can often be the difference between getting an A and getting a C. Once you have your timings sorted its worth timing yourself doing a question. You will be surprised how much you can write in even ten minutes, assuming you know what you are writing about! 

 

Don’t waste your time studying!

Of course I don’t mean don’t study, just make sure that the study you do isn’t a waste of your valuable time.  Many students “study” by staring blankly at a book for hours while flicking between Facebook and sending the occasional text.  If you are going to go to the effort of putting in the hours studying you might as well do Active study.  Active study is study where you are actively engaging with what you are trying to learn. Here’s some ways to help you study better:

-       Turn off the distractions of Facebook and your phone, give yourself time between subjects to check them, It can be rewarding to finish a subject and then check Facebook/ your phone for ten minutes.

-       Summarise, Summarise, Summarise. Flash cards, typed notes, mind maps, everyone has their own ways, but it is important to summarise what you have learned. You couldn’t possibly remember all of the contents of all the books in your locker so you need to cut away the rubbish and be left with the key information. Plus organizing information on paper is one of the best ways of organizing information in your brain.

-       Study for many short bursts. Many students sit in front of their books for up to four hours without a break and consider it a great day’s study. You would be much better to break this up into three 90-minute blocks with breaks in between. The human brain has a limited concentration span so taking regular breaks is actually saving you time!

-       The hardest part of studying is getting started. Try starting with a subject you like and then come up with a study plan that gives you a variety of different learning tasks. For example, You could study Geography first because you like that subject, then move on to Maths because it involves actively doing questions and finally move onto a language because the learning style will be different again.

 

Find out what you don’t know, and learn that

It’s reassuring to keep revising the things that you already know but one of the keys to doing well in the exams is to identify what you don’t know, to find the gaps in your knowledge. The best way to do this is to spend lots of time practicing past exam questions. The best way to do this is to view past exam questions one topic at a time on studyclix.ie. Active study is effective study so it is worth quickly jotting down a quick answer or answer plan before viewing the marking scheme or notes.

Testing yourself constantly by practicing past exam questions is by far the most important piece of advice I can give.  It will also mean that you are always engaged with what you are doing and your mind won’t drift off as easily.


Eat properly, sleep properly, exercise and try to relax

I know this tip is obvious but it really does work. If you don’t look after your body before and during the exams, you are not giving yourself your best chance of success.

The brain works in mysterious ways and believe it or not, some of the best study you can do is while asleep!  This is because REM (rapid eye movement) during sleep is our brain’s way of filing away all of the information learned. Without sleep, what you have learned will not be retained.

Taking regular exercise between study is a great way of helping you prepare for the exams. Kick a ball, walk the dog, whatever, exercise gets your blood flowing and helps you relax leaving you energized and fresh for the next 90 minutes of study.  A good tip is to go for a run for 20 minutes every day after school to boost energy levels and switch off 

Probably most important of all is to try and relax. It is important to still switch off every so often. You can still go out, play sports, and hang out with your friends. It is important to still keep some normality in your life to help you switch off. Feeling anxious and stressed about exams is very normal and everyone reacts differently. From experience the most stressful time will be the day before and the morning before your first exam. Once you get up and running your stress levels will fall rapidly.

Remember that if you feel really stressed, it’s always good to talk. Find a teacher/parent/ friend and talk about how you are feeling. The chances are that you will see that there are literally thousands of people feeling the exact same feelings as you.  There really is life after the exams

 

Be Confident

This is one of the most important tips and can make the difference of a grade especially in essay-based subjects where you have to give some element of your own opinion.  A confident student will always come across as more knowledgeable. Before the exam, instead of worrying about what you don’t know, put your hand on your back and start patting. You know so much and now it’s time to show them just how much. Best of luck!


Why youtube should be unblocked in all Irish schools

Okay, so youtube has its fair share of rubbish from cats being thrown into bins to talking goats but with 48 hours of video being uploaded every minute there is bound to be some good stuff on there for teachers and students.

As a teacher, I use youtube almost everyday and I have found it very engaging for my students and a great tool for sparking conversation. Let’s take today as a typical day; I began with a class on Glaciation for a leaving cert Geography class where I showed a 5 minute BBC clip filmed underneath a glacier. Then in a junior Science class, I was able to show a video of a bell ringing in a jar as the air was sucked out using a vacuum pump, a piece of equipment our school does not own. Finally, in an afternoon Biology class, I showed an animated clip showing the various parts of the eye, a far better way of teaching the topic than my less than perfect diagrams!

So what are the risks? Sure, students can access inappropriate content on youtube but most schools have a policy of supervising students in computer rooms. From my experience, since our school opened up access to youtube six months ago, we have had no problems.

So, you are convinced! Now here’s how to unblock youtube in an Irish school. Schools web filtering systems are overseen by the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) who have divided access levels into 6 categories  http://www.ncte.ie/Broadband/ContentFiltering/  Many schools in Ireland will be on level 3 but an increasing number are moving to level 4 which is the exact same with youtube  accessible. Facebook and other social media sites will remain blocked at level 4.

In order to change your school’s filter level to level 4  you need to download a form from the NCTE website  http://www.ncte.ie/media/Content%20Filtering%20Level%20(CFL)%20Form.pdf  The form must be signed by a school’s principal and posted or faxed to the NCTE service desk.

In the meantime, if youtube is still blocked or you do not have high speed broadband in your classroom you can save youtube clips to your laptop and play them offline by pasting the clip’s URL (address) into a site such as www.keepvid.com

And to save time searching through youtube for appropriate videos why not check first  on  www.studyclix.ie to find great videos, picked by Irish teachers, to help you learn or teach that topic.