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What are the reasons for success? At first glance, the answer is easy: success is about talent. It’s about being able to do something better than anyone else. But this answer immediately invites another question:
What is talent? How did Katie Taylor become an Olympic hero? What makes Kerry the most successful Gaelic football team? How did that student get 600 points?
For some time, talent seemed to be about inheritance, about the blessed set of genes that gave rise to a particular skill. Katie Taylor had the boxing gene; Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper has the Gaelic football gene. In recent years the pendulum has shifted. It turns out that the intrinsic nature of talent is overrated and our genes don’t confer specific gifts. (There is, of course no boxing or Gaelic football gene.) This has led many researchers such as K. Anders Ericsson, to argue that talent is really about deliberate practice, about putting in the hard hours of work/study in order to achieve the best results.
In terms of students and their exams, sharp focus, hard work and a strong memory seem to matter more than a high IQ. Deliberate practice involves students defining their goals; breaking it down into sections and designing a programme which will help them achieve their goals.
Angela Duckworth, in a US study of successful students, found that the amount of time a student practises is the best indicator of their probable success. The highest achievers seek copious feedback to help them work better. Angela Duckworth (Deliberate Practice Spells Success) concluded that our most important talent is having a talent for working hard, for practising even when practice isn’t fun.
The Junior and Leaving Certificate examinations can be a daunting time for young people. This is why mock exams (pre-junior certs and pre-leaving cert) play such an important role in students achieving their points and college places. The great benefit of mock exams is that students can make errors, such as mistiming the paper or misinterpreting questions, and learn from their mistakes. Practice accompanied by professional and unbiased feedback at this stage provides students with a roadmap for improvement in their preparation for the Junior or Leaving Certificate examinations.
Students who focus on areas requiring attention and deliberately practise these will see their grades improve as the year goes by and are more likely to achieve their CAO points and college places.
At Examcraft we are committed to supplying the highest quality mock exam papers with swift and accurate correction to assist students on their road to success.