Why Students Burnout
For most people doing the Leaving Cert is one of the most stressful things that they will do in their lives to that point. At the start of the year, some students go all out from the start and burnout by Christmas. They don't put in the required work for their mocks which means the mocks don't represent their ability. Some other people don't start studying until they get back to school in January with less than a month to the mocks. They go hard for a month then burn out for all of February and April.
Neither of these is the right approach - they both end up burnt out and not living up to their true potential for the actual Leaving Cert in June. So here's our advice on how to not burn out before you sit the Leaving Cert!
Set Realistic Points Goals
We all want to be that person that gets 625 points in the LC. But why do you want them? Is it just to show off? Instead, you should aim for more realistic points. Look at the grades you have been getting recently and retarget for a small bit more than what you are currently getting. I know this may mean that your dream course is out of reach but still put it down on your CAO. So if you do get it, great! But if you don't you still know what you want.
If you are gunning for those top points then you need to make sure you have a really good study plan in place and are disciplined.
Have a good school-life balance
While it might seem that you have to put your entire life on the back burner while you are doing the Leaving Cert this is a certain way to get burned out. If you only focus on the Leaving Cert you will not enjoy your time and will burn out. You should be studying but also make sure to balance it with some R&R with friends, family, pets or whatever else makes you happy.
It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint
You can't just cram in all your study for the mocks then again just before the Leaving Cert. That is a recipe for burnout and disaster. You are much better having a base load of study that you ramp up over time, slowly increasing your time studying on the run-up to the mocks, then back off (a little but not completely) for a few weeks to do projects/orals and give yourself a little breather. You should ramp up the study once projects are done up to the Leaving Cert.
Manage your time correctly
There is no point in saying "I studied for 4 hours last night" when you spent half the time on TikTok. You are much better off concentrating on your study for less time in an uninterrupted stream. I use the Pomodoro technique to study what subjects I have allocated in my study plan. This will help alleviate the stress of feeling you have got nothing done when you can look back at all the successful study sessions you have done.
Similar to managing your time correctly, if you can minimise how much you are procrastinating it will help you. It can be tempting to put the study on the long finger. But you will sleep better knowing that you have done what you can on time.
Keep up your hobbies
This was key to stopping burnout for me. I didn't stop doing and planning my hobbies into what I was doing. It was paramount to me that I made sure that they were always in place. I would place all my studies around my activities. You need to keep your hobbies to have a symbol of normality so make sure you keep them up!
It is well known that getting out to nature be it on a walk, a run or just with friends is great for reducing your stress and helps you calm. This will allow you to rejuvenate yourself to get back to it! I would recommend going out either at the beginning or the end of your day. This is so you can have the mental break of starting or ending your day. I love an early morning run, but it all works!
Exercise & Health
Having a healthy diet and exercising regularly will help release endorphins, reduce stress and give you more energy! Even while I was sitting the Leaving Cert (i.e. in the middle of the exam time) I still made sure to find time to work out. This was because I knew how much more beneficial working out was. That hour workout would be better for me than studying another hour.
Do you have any tips on avoiding burnout? Let us know in the comments below or on Instagram