Checklist of Practical Things for the Exams:
- Pens: I would advise any student to have a good stock of new and functioning pens with them as they enter their exam centre. Remember all pens need backups! They can waste unexpectedly at any point in time and you don’t want to be scribbling frantically all over your exam booklet in order to restore your pens former function. Bring a few different coloured pens into the exam to show good presentation and neatness in your work. Needless to say bringing an excessive amount of pens into an exam isn’t a great idea as your small working area can be too cluttered and make writing more difficult. It may be a wise choice to purchase some three-in-one or four-in-one biros from the local stationary shop. These clever products can keep you organised and can save you some time in an exam that you may waste switching from pen to pen.
- Pencils: Though most exams are written in pen at this level, it is worth packing a few pencils – paired of course, with an eraser and a sharpener. In subjects like Geography where one may have to draw an OS map or an aerial photograph as part of a question, it would be more advisable to do so in pencil to avoid making many mistakes in pen and having trouble correcting them. Also it is a good idea in this exam, to pack in some form of colouring pencils. I realise that it is not an art exam however marks are going for presentation and clarity and neat colouring of certain features certainly does the trick.
- Rulers: This piece of stationary is an important element to many exams like Accounting and Maths (graphs or otherwise). Once again they make the exam booklet more presentable and neat which can score you more marks.
- Calculator: This is an essential part to every mathematical exam. I recommend that any student going into a Maths or Business Studies exam should check the functionality of their calculator as frequently batteries run out or buttons break and panic attacks erupt. As a safety net it may be a good idea to bring a back up calculator – even if it is only a simple one, to ensure that you will get the work done.
- Tipp-ex/Correction Fluid: It may be worth having this lying around in the exam if you once again feel the need to be neat in your presentation for the examiner. Bear in mind however that in certain exams you may not have the time to go back and correct every mistake.
- Watch: Bring a functioning watch with you and place it where you can see it on the desk. This can allow you to keep track of how you’re doing on time without having to dart your gaze around the room in search of a clock.
- Food/Drink: With regard to food and drink I would limit the consumption to a minimum level in the exam. In fact I personally would only bring a small bottle of water with me to the exam centre as eating a snack (though helpful with energy) could be distracting. As a compromise I would have a good breakfast/lunch before the exam and pack a something small in your schoolbag for afterwards if needs be. Ultimately you are in a race against time in these exams and avoiding any possible obstacles is important so that you can fully complete your paper.
- Clothes: I assume that many students around the country are required to wear their school uniforms when sitting their exams – so I imagine there is no worry on what outfit to pick for each day. If people taking the exams wear their own clothes, I would recommend something comfortable and of course weather appropriate. Taking into account that the Leaving Cert exams take place in June, I wouldn’t advise anyone to be wearing heavy clothing as you would be too warm and uncomfortable during the exam. Simply dress normally – it isn’t a fashion parade after all, it’s the Leaving Cert.