D-day has arrived. The day you've been studying for the last two or three years and there's no need to panic! Today over 56,580 students are sitting their Leaving Certificate and the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme, 2,814 students are entered to do the Leaving Certificate Applied and 62,076 students are due to sit the Junior Certificate.
The exams will begin from today until the 21st of June for Junior Certificate and the 23rd of June 2017 for Leaving Certificate students. We decided to get some some of Ireland's leading politicians to give some pieces of advice to students. Here's what they had to say:
Richard Bruton - Minister for Education and Skills
Thousands of students today will start their Junior and Leaving Certificate examinations. I want to remind everyone sitting state exams that while these exams are important, they are just one pathway in education. A range of opportunities now exist which will help students to fulfil their ambitions. In addition to higher and further education there are many alternative routes to rewarding careers now available.We are also developing a range of new apprenticeship and traineeship programmes in new sectors. Work is well advanced to extend the apprenticeship model into 25 new areas by the end of 2018, to provide new opportunities in sectors like international financial services; accounting; advanced manufacturing and in new craft and services areas... It is very important that we recognise the important role of teachers and principals in helping their students prepare for state exams. We are fortunate in Ireland to have such a dedicated and committed teaching profession. Teachers perform a vital role in educating our children and make such an important contribution to the life of our state.
John Halligan - Minister of State For Training And Skills
While this can be a stressful time, remember your family and friends are there to support you over the next few weeks. To parents, I would say reassure your child that the examination system is not designed to catch them out and that every question asked is something which they have covered with their teachers over the past two or three years. And remind them that there is a variety of course options open to all students which can ultimately bring them to their desired career area.
Thomas Byrne - Fianna Fáil Education Spokesperson
Being stressed about exams is pretty normal - the way to deal with it is to work hard, yes, take breaks from study and chat regularly to friends and family who aren't doing exams. The truth is that education is life long and the Leaving Cert is a step on the way. Treat the Leaving with the respect it deserves, and no more. Remember that, while you may be "leaving" school, you're actually entering a whole new world. A world of excitement and opportunity.
Robbie Gallagher - Senate Spokesperson on Education
Firstly, congratulations for making it through a tough year, you are almost at the finishing line now! In the last few days leading up to the exams getting enough rest is of significant importance. Make sure you are sleeping enough, getting light exercise and eating well. You want to make sure you are energised and refreshed for exams as they will be very tiring. Stay as positive as possible and keep ensuring yourself that you are going to do well,,you've put in the work and now you are about to reap your reward.Familiarise yourself with the exam layout of each subject, ensuring you know how long each paper is and how much time you have to spend on each question. Read and re-read the question over and over again to make sure you are answering correctly. Doing a few sample questions from past papers in an exam like situation, using no notes and setting a timer, is a great way to familiarise yourself with an exam setting.
On the night before each exam try and get to bed early, listen to some music or read a book. Take time to relax. Try not to stay up cramming material the night before as this usually just ends in unnecessary stress or anxiety. If you want to do some last minute revising get up a bit earlier on the morning of the exam, you will be well rested after a nights sleep and the information will be fresh in your head.Finally, it must be said that the leaving certificate is not the be all and end all; there are plenty of ways to end up in the course of your dreams. Be proud of yourself and the work you have put in. Everything happens for a reason and what's for you won't pass you! Go néirigh an t-ádh leat!
Clare Daly TD - Independents 4 Change TD
I suppose the most important thing I can say is to try not to panic - in an Irish context the points you come away with from your Leaving Cert are important in the sense that a lack of them makes choices difficult for people, but at the end of the day they are probably not decisive. Just do your best - after all, that's all any of us can do.
Katherine Zappone - Minister for Children and Youth Affairs
You have reached a momentous occasion in your life. All of your hard work,effort and determination has brought you to this point - to your final exams in second level education. While it may not be time for final celebration just yet, it is important that you take some time out, to appreciate all you have achieved to get you to this point and reflect on the challenges that lie ahead. Have confidence in your ability to achieve any goal you set for yourself. I wish you the very best of luck in your exams and in your future endeavours.
The results of the Leaving Certificate will be issued on Wednesday 16th August 2017 and will be available online from 12 noon that day. Junior Certificate results will be released in September.