Weekly Updates 3rd December

Good evening all Parents/ Guardians,

This post is specifically in relation to the Christmas Exams. Copies of timetables for 1st, 2nd and 5th years are for viewing on the school website.

Students have been provided with hard copies and we will meet the boys closer to their start date to go through with them exam protocols etc.

Also, information is being sent to 1st year parents in relation to choices for Practical Options (Art, TG, Technology, Coding & Digital Media) and in relation to Christmas tests. There will be no Christmas exam in any of the option subjects for 1st year students. 

1st Year Options

As you are aware our first-year students have had a taster in a selection of practical subject options since last September.

The options available to the students is a choice between Art or Technical Graphics or Technology or IT (Coding/ Digital Media).The students will choose one of the subject options listed in order of preference. It is important to note that Coding and Digital Media fuse to form one option, as these courses are referred to as Short Courses in the New Junior Cycle.


Forms will be distributed to students on Monday December 6th and must be returned to Ms. Shiels (Deputy Principal) not later than Thursday 9th December 2021. The students will be met at assembly and the filling of the form will be explained to them. A box will be left outside the office where students can submit their forms daily, up to the end of the school day on December 9th. Every effort will be made to allocate your son to a group which will allow him to study his preferred subject. In a small number of cases this may not be possible (due to limitations on class size). Please be assured that if this situation arises you will be contacted directly to discuss the matter.


Please be aware that failure to return this form on time may result in your son being unable to study the subject(s) of his first choice.

1st Year Christmas Tests

As mentioned on yesterday’s e mail our 1st year students will commence their Christmas Exams on Tuesday 14th December. They will have exams on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (14th- 16th December).

The boys will be sitting their Christmas exams in the Sports Hall this year (to ensure that we can adhere to adequate social distancing) and all exams are 1 hour and 10 minutes in duration. The protocols and rules that we follow for house exams are closely aligned to those that are in place for the State Examinations i.e.

  • all students will receive an “exam number” which will be posted on their tutor room classroom door (tutors will remind students to make note of the number)
  • all students will have an assigned seat in the exam hall (dictated by their exam number)
  • students will have a supervised study slot prior to each exam. This is usually a 40-minute slot and is important as it allows students to immerse themselves in the subject matter that will be examined

The idea behind the above measures is to allow students to become comfortable with an exam environment from early on in 1st year. This is so important for students so that when they reach 3rd year (exam year) they are not fazed by an exam environment.

Students must bring the materials for their next exam with them in the event of finishing an exam early. No student should finish early, as once the writing aspect of the exam has been completed, students need to look over their exam paper to ensure that they have put their name on the paper and numbered their questions correctly etc. The exam timetables are available to view on our website and have been sent to all parents. As mentioned, we will explain all of the above to the boys, however, as is always the case we want parents to be involved and informed every step of the way in everything that we do.

Please feel free to e-mail us at any time in relation to any of the above or indeed if you have a question or a query. We would only be happy to help if we can.

Christmas Exams

The exams will undoubtedly be a little daunting for some of our 1st years. It will be their first time in an exam hall and for some that can be off putting. We, however, are dealing with 1st years for many years now, and from our experience, the key to easing any stress or anxiousness is to prepare them well in advance. All exam protocols for all year groups are closely aligned to the state examinations. Christmas and Summer exams in the College are the major in house exams. The same protocols are followed each time these exams come around so that by the time students reach third year, they are well versed in State Examination rules and so the idea of exams, exam centres, exam numbers, supervisors etc is all familiar to them. The arrangements for each of the year groups are outlined below:


First Years
  • Teachers will have already spoken to each of their class groups and given them a list of topics they intend to examine on the Christmas exam.
  • All students will be given an exam number. This number denotes where the student is seated in the exam hall. This seat will be assigned to the student for the duration of the exams.
  • All 1st years will be based in the Sports Hall
  • Exams for 1st years will begin on Tuesday December 14th and end on Thursday December 16th
  • All exams will be 1 hour 10 minutes duration
  • Students will have no more than two exams per day and will finish each day at 1pm
  • 1st years will complete 8 exams in total. They will not have an exam in their option subjects as they have only experienced tasters in each of the option subjects (Art, TG, Technology, Coding, Digital Media).
  • They will complete their Science exam in their double class
  • They will complete an MFL (French/ German) assessment in class on Monday December 13th
Second Years 
  • 2nd years will be based in the Assembly Hall (Shaughnessy & Mara), Cusack (Double Hall C5 & C6) Donoghue (Double Hall (C9 & C10)
  • Exams for 2nd years will begin on Tuesday December 14th and end on Thursday December 16th
  • All exams will be 1 hour 10 minutes duration
  • Students will have no more than two exams per day and will finish each day at 1pm
  • 2nd years will complete 9 exams in total.
  • Option Subjects & Science will be completed during their double classes on the week of December 6th to 10th
  • French and German will be completed on Tuesday December 7th
Fifth Years
  • 5th years will be based in the Sports Hall (LC 1.1+1.2+1.3) and Assembly Hall (LC 1.4 +1.5)
  • Exams for 5th years will begin on Friday December 17th and end on Wednesday December 22nd
  • All exams will be 1 hour 30 minutes duration
  • Students will have no more than two exams per day and will finish each day at 1pm (10:30am on Wednesday 22nd)
  • 5th years will complete 7 exams in total (2 exams each day and then 1 exam on Wednesday 22nd)
Transition Years
Our TY students will finish up at the end of the school day on Thursday December 16th.
3rd & 6th Years 
We will have supervised study from Friday December 17th to Tuesday December 21st for the above exam groups. Teachers will have identified clear study topics taht the boys need to revise over the Christmas break. We will assign study halls to each group e.g. double halls on C floor to 6th years and then designated classrooms for each 3rd year tutor group on the B floor. All 3rd and 6th years will have two blocks of study each day as follows:
Friday 17th December/ Monday 20th December and Tuesday 21st December 
Block 1 8:55am to 10:50am
Break 10:50am to 11:20am
Block 2 11:20am to 13:00pm
3rd and 6th years will be taking their Christmas holidays at 1pm on Tuesday 21st December.
We had hoped to run supervised Christmas Study (as we usually do) over the Christmas holidays. However, we have been cautioned against organising any such study over the break, so this year unfortunately we are not in a position to offer this service.
Over the years we have implemented new procedures prior to and during exams. All procedures are carried out with the intention to reduce exam stress and pressure. From speaking to students over the years it has become clear that the following helps when dealing with exam stress/anxiety:
  • Knowing what topics to study and focus on prior to an exam
  • Knowing what centre, you are based in, in advance of exams
  • Knowing where your seat is and the fact that this is your seat for the duration of exams
  • Knowing how long each exam is
  • No noise in exam hall/ it is a quiet studious environment
  • Clear rules identified prior to exams
  • Having no more than two exams scheduled per day (3 is too many to prepare for even when the exam is only an hour and ten minutes long)