There is an old adage that says "Fail to plan, plan to fail". Therefore, it is important for any person doing the Leaving Cert to have a study plan in place. This will help to get the most out of your study time.
Have a physical study plan/ timetable printed out
This was the backbone of my study success. Having a physically printed out timetable made sure I knew what subject I had and when. My timetable was based off 25-minute blocks of study from 11:00-19:00. While you might say to yourself "8 hours of study, no chance of me doing that!". Don't worry I would be the same. I only did one and a half hours on a weekday and 2-3 hours on the weekends. Why is it 8hours? As it covers the entire day it stops me from studying only what I want. It doesn't matter if I start studying at 11 or 2 - there is always a mix of different subjects I am doing!
Timetable your disliked subjects for high traffic times
Everyone has the subjects they love and the subjects they hate in school. For me, it was Maths and Physics. Maths was just never my thing! I knew I had soccer training twice a week after school. So, I knew it would be extremely unlikely I would be studying at this time. But very likely I would be studying 45 minutes after it.
That is why I put the subjects I liked the most in the times I was least likely to study. Then the ones I didn't like on the time I was most likely! Having the timetable written down physically made sure that I couldn't worm out of learning differentiation. Your timetable becomes your accountability partner. I would highly recommend using the template from St Colmcille's. But, I would add more study sessions during school time so if you have a free class it will fit in there!
Are there any subjects you are struggling on? Make sure to check out some of our notes and projects on our shop!
Don't Stress About It!
Getting stressed about it will only make the problem worse. You need to trust in the process. If you build a good study plan, make sure to get a certain amount of study done each week. You will notice over time, once you get into the habit of studying, it will become second nature to you! I know you might be stressed out but please make sure to make time to do the things you enjoy. This will be the thing that will keep you sain and keep you coming back to study the next day.
Using The Pomodoro Technique / Block Learning
If this isn't the first blog you've read about how to study/ create a study plan you may have heard of the Pomodoro Technique. If you are unaware of it, it is a time management technique created by Francesco Cirillo for a more productive way to work and study. It can be changed to suit but most commonly it is 25 minutes on a timer of concentrated focusing. Then a 5-minute break to do what you feel like (such as replying to Snaps, scrolling on Insta etc.) then get back to it! I found this has worked great for me as it sets clear boundaries of when study starts and ends. This is especially good if you're always scrolling aimlessly.
I would also combine this technique with an app such as Forest. In the forest app, you plant a sapling for a set amount of time. If you go on your phone in that time the tree dies and you've got a dead tree in your virtual forest. It won't work for everyone but I found it helped a lot.
Have a study space
While not exactly a "study plan", having a dedicated area where you can go to study is important to get rid of any distractions. What's the point of having a study plan if you can't implement it!
While some people don't have an option of where they can go to study. Here are some recommendations if you can.
Firstly, have the right ergonomics - this means having the right study setup. You should have an adequate size solidly built desk and a comfortable and supporting chair. Bonus tip: make sure to keep it tidy. You will find it harder to concentrate when you have a cluttered study space.
Secondly, have it away from distractions/ heavy footfall areas of the house. So that means the sitting room and kitchen table are both out of the question. This also includes the distraction of your phone (which can be taken care of with the previous step).
Create a To-Do list
I would highly recommend getting a little whiteboard and hanging it up where you can see it from your study space. Before sitting down to study for the day set out what you want to complete for that session. Then as you complete your objectives tick them off. This is one of the best things I found to help me study. On good study days, I get to look back at the end of the session. I get to see how I have done, which is usually much more than what I set out to do. But even on bad days when I think " I got nothing done today" the board tells the truth. It usually shows I still got a good bit done and is a great confidence booster!