This Exam Times supplement is crammed with revision pointers and practical advice for Leaving Cert Geography, History and Home Economics. Download the full supplement >
Browse our tabs below to read top tips from some of our A1 students:
Keith Longworth,a student of The Institute of Education who achieved an A1 in his Leaving Cert Higher Level Geography exam last year shares his top revision tips:
“To achieve an A1 in Geography, design your study around the exam format and you can’t go wrong. In my experience, past papers should be your best friend when it comes to the short questions. Downloading multiple copies allows you to complete them again and again without the possibility of tricking yourself into thinking you know them if you have a book of past papers.
Short questions are worth 80 marks, equal to the Options section of the exam, making them an important aspect if you want a high grade.
In my experience, making a ‘SRP book’ is a good approach. This is an A4 pad with every SRP topic that you wish to cover inside. Remember it is essential to keep everything in its correct section otherwise; the information will become muddled and it will be ineffective.
What made this method effective for me is that all your relevant information is in one easy to reach place. Making your study time more effective and productive. It also means you are learning the SRP topics in your own words rather than a teacher’s for example. This makes it more accessible to you as they are your notes, which will make it easier to learn over the course of the year.
Practice writing each SRP question first on a blank piece of paper, that way your final draft is completely your own and without realizing it you’ve condensed the information in your own head, meaning you’ve been learning as you get to that final draft in the ‘SRP book’!
You can apply the ‘SRP book’ technique to all essay sections of the exam. Essentially this A4 pad allows you to have every SRP topic you want to cover from Section 1 right through to your Option essay titles in section 3. As you get closer to the exam having ‘trigger words’ for each SRP allows you to be able to recall an SRP without having to learn a whole sentence.
Always keep in mind timing. The geography exam requires good exam timing. So always be aware of how long you spend on each question.”
Elizabeth Hearst, a student of The Institute of Education who achieved an A1 in her Leaving Cert Higher Level History exam last year explains how she got top marks:
“I have always loved History. It is a subject that I have always found interesting. The history course for the Leaving Cert is tough. It’s challenging but if you have an interest in it, it is easier.
I would say the best way to prepare for the exam is to practice. I know how difficult it is to get an essay written in 42.5 minutes, but if you can’t do it in September, with practice you should be able to do it by June.
In my preparation, we were lucky enough to have the time to do weekly tests in class, which I found really helped. Know the paper and the past questions that have been asked. It is much easier for you to know the structure of what you are going to write, before you write it. Those 42.5 minutes go by incredibly quickly, so knowing your structure is key.
I wrote out each important point that I wanted to make, in each of the essays that I prepared. My piece of advice, aim for 3-5 quotes per essay, examiners love this, it shows depth rather than reeling off facts. Include interesting nuggets of information in all paragraphs. Write short paragraphs as you will clock up marks, each paragraph is marked out of 12, so writing 2 short paragraphs and each scoring 6’s, is better than one long paragraph which could be awarded 9.
My advice for scoring high marks in the History research topic, is use as many sources as possible. If it seems like a mountainous amount of work, you can cut it down. Spend the time on your research topic and it will pay off!
Even if you think history is a lot of work, it does produce a lot of A1’s, and those 100 points are incredibly valuable! Although the history course is tough, my hard work paid off, and I got the grade that I wanted. Good luck!”
Alison Devlin, a student of The Institute of Education who achieved an A1 in her Leaving Cert Higher Level Home Economics exam last year shares her secrets of exam success:
“The key to success in Home economics is detail. Home economics is a very broad course. It is important to have a wide range of knowledge of each topic and connect all topics during the exam.
Try make it a priority to familiarise yourself with the various terms they use in the exam such as ‘comment’, ‘evaluate’ and ‘identify’ and become confident in what they are asking you to answer.
Detail is vital to achieve success in this exam, even in the short questions, as each is worth 6 marks- equivalent to 1.5% of your overall grade. One word answers are not enough. To obtain full marks in the short questions you will find yourself writing all over the page.
Tabulating your answers can also be very useful in this exam. I found tables useful as it helps keep focus and you are able to visualise what your answers should look like. This is particularly helpful in question 1A.
Long essay answers are not necessary but use precise bullet point answers.
Home economics is not just about knowing but practice. Try to feel confident in answering all parts of the exam. Start now to perform well- there’s no point cramming the night before.
There are parts of the exam you can’t predict such as 1D and 1C. Practice as much of these as you can as this type of question could put you off during an exam.
Planning is essential as the exam is very demanding time wise. It’s vital you have your time mapped out for each part and stick to this. I suggest not reading through the exam but get stuck in as you need every minute.
I recommend starting with one of the compulsory parts such as the elective or question 1A as it can help settle your nerves to start with a guaranteed part.”