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Taking the stress from exams

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It’s the exam that still brings adults out in a cold sweat, years after they sat their final subject – and in less than two weeks, it is the turn of another generation of second-level graduates to sit their Leaving Cert.

It all starts on Wednesday week, June 8 – but already expectations and pressure are at fever pitch. So how do you manage and deal with all of that?

Loughrea-based Marie Barrett is one of the most respective careers guidance advisors in the country – and she knows how to deal with this pressure in a practical way.

Her first tip to students is to ‘make sure to use this last bit of time well – stay in school until it finishes’.

“Some students stay at home thinking they can study better there – but often they get distracted or nerves and anxiety take over. You are better off going to school and being amongst peers who are going through the same experiences,” she says.

At school, there is also the added benefit of having a teacher readily available to answer questions or queries which may help restore confidence and steady nerves.

Next, she recommends students ‘keep the body clock in time of school’ – that means going to bed at an appropriate hour and not staying awake trying to cram work in.

“It’s preferable not to burn the midnight oil; that can work against them and lead to blocking of information due to fatigue,” she explains.

Breaking the day into manageable blocks is a positive and productive step. Marie recommends two-hour blocks of study followed by a half-hour break and a good one and a half hour break during the day.

English is first up for Leaving Cert students on Wednesday week – and Marie Barrett says this ought to be treated “as a court of law”.

“In other words, everything you say, every opinion you give must be backed up with evidence. Find a relevant quote or passage to support your theory,” she expands.

For students taking ordinary level maths she advises, that – if it’s possible – they should still get two or three grinds, because it can still make a difference, particularly in terms of boosting university requirements for that subject.

When it comes to higher level Maths, she simply says: “Grinds have become synonymous with the honours maths” – and the majority of honours students are already receiving extra help.

Another very practical piece of advice is to ‘really look at the subject you’ll be studying’

“It may seem obvious, but many have faltered, even dropping out because they didn’t realise they would have to study X, Y, or Z as part of the course.

“Many students choose to do a business course, for example, without realising they will have to take accountancy as part of that course,” says Marie.

Reading the prospectus carefully and considering your subject choice is of paramount importance.

As for the step up to third-level, students have until July 1 to change their mind, make amendments or add courses to their CAO application.

All of this can be done online and Marie urges students to consider not just plan A, but plan B, C, and beyond.

“For now, it’s all about calmness and confidence,” she says – and as always; preparation is key.

“Know your timetable, have everything ready the night before, take breaks – go for a long walk, swim or gym. Have a massage to slow and calm you down – treat yourself,” she says.

And expect the unexpected.

“Every year, there are nearly certainly one or two papers tougher than anticipated. The upset from that can do damage to deal with the next subject,” she warns.

“When you look at a paper and you’re thrown, stop… count to ten… step back from it and read the question again. Highlight key phrases and avoid rushing in,” she adds.

Parents, for their part, can help by creating a calm environment, conducive to study at home – a healthy environment makes for a healthy mentality.

Marie also suggests parents should consider their words carefully – are they positive or negative?

Or as she puts it: “Do something nice for your stressed out child. An act of kindness can have a positive effect.”

Marie Barrett is founder and a director of MBCS, Marie Barrett Career Services in Loughrea. Email info@mbcs.ie

CITY TRIBUNE

€46,000 Lotto winner comes forward as deadline looms

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Knocknacarra winner of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus from the 12th of December has come forward to claim their prize, just two weeks before the claim deadline.

The winning ticket, which is worth €46,234, was sold at Clybaun Stores on the Clybaun Road on the day of the draw, one of two winners of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus prize of €92,000.

A spokesperson for the National Lottery say we are now making arrangements for the lucky winner to make their claim in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Lotto jackpot for tomorrow night (27th February) will roll to an estimated €5.5 million.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.

Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.

The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.

“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.

“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”

Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.

“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.

The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools

Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.

“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.

“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.

A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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