Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Quinn warns pupils of exam stress

More than 116,000 students across Ireland will be sitting their Leaving and Junior Certificate exams

Students have been warned not to stress too much over the State exams that start on Wednesday.

More than 116,000 teenagers will begin sitting their Leaving and Junior Certificates at schools around the country, with all taking English paper one.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn wished each pupil luck and told them to get any support needed from teachers, parents, families and friends. "Over the next couple of weeks students have an opportunity to show all they have learned over the last few years, and it marks the culmination of their hard work," he said.

Some 53,749 Leaving Certificate students, 2,853 Leaving Certificate Applied students and 60,243 Junior Certificate students will start taking the exams. Mr Quinn said almost 90 curricular subjects will be examined, while native speakers from 15 other EU countries will sit tests in their mother tongues, such as Czech, Latvian and Polish.

An additional 4,000 students have opted to sit the higher level maths paper, meaning they can gain 25 bonus Central Applications Office (CAO) points towards a college place. It is also the first year that all Junior Cert students will be examined in at least some elements of the Project Maths curriculum.

Meanwhile up to 62 pupils from Libya are expected to travel to Malta to sit the exam. The State Examinations Commission (SEC) said that, given the highly unstable political and security situation, its staff had decided not to travel to test students in the ISM International School in Tripoli for the third year running. The State exam has been offered there since 1997.

Teachers, medics and pharmacists have urged teens to look after their mental health during exam time and not to cram revision in to the night. HeadsUp has developed an exam survival guide for students and parents through the coming weeks on www.headsup.ie

Collette Ryan, of the Rehab national mental health project, said managing stress stops it having a negative impact on performance during exams. "At a time when every hour seems vital, taking some time to look after your mental health can have a huge benefit on ability to retain information and demonstrate understanding and knowledge during exam time," she added.

The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) advised students that too much sugar or junk food can deprive the brain of glucose, deplete its energy supply and compromise the brain's power to concentrate and remember. They should also sleep well, eat a balanced breakfast, exercise and drink plenty of water, it added.

Leaving Certificate results will be issued on Wednesday, August 14 with Junior Certificate results released in mid-September

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