Tips for Junior Cert Religion
The religion junior cert exam is commonly regarded as one of the most difficult exams to achieve an A in but this doesn’t have to be the case. The reasons for this include the sheer length of the course, along with the subjective nature of many of the answers. Here is a few tips which can lead you along the way to achieve whatever you want to get in the exam.
Learn the notes smartly
In order to learn the course itself, you must learn the notes – there is no complete way of getting around this. But, you should really write shorter versions of the notes and chapters from your schoolbook, as this allows you to understand the general concept and topics within each chapter. If you are able to write your own version of notes then that shows you understand the chapter.
It is obviously very challenging to sit down and read through your religion schoolbooks from 1st to 3rd year, so you must be clever about how you study for this exam in order to save valuable time and to study effectively. You must condense the chapters into your own notes, using the facts and sentences which you will actually need for the exam. If you need help with this, JC-Learn has notes on every single chapter in a condensed form, but includes every piece of information you need to get an A in the exam.
Learn how to answer correctly
Many students may have learned all of the notes and think they are ready for the exam, but they are wrong. They are really only half of the way there. You must be constantly doing past junior cert exams and checking the answers after or ask your teacher to correct them after. This allows you to see where you went wrong in your answers, and then correcting these areas for future reference. However, it is not only the content of your answers which you must learn.
You need to have a real understanding of how to answer some questions, and what the answers require. You may have given all the relevant information associated to the topic in the question, but if your answer is not worded or laid out correctly, they may not give you full marks. Check the marking schemes to learn this. We strongly advise you to sign up to JC-Learn, if you want to see all the past exam answers for a lot of the past years, and if you want to see the marking schemes.
Test yourself regularly
A key way to improve your knowledge of the subject is by testing yourself. How you do this is very simple and quick, but will still lead you to achieving an A in the exam if done correctly. After you have been studying for let’s say half an hour on a specific topic, just test yourself by trying to put all of it in your own words. This will only take a few minutes but will go a long towards your exam result if you do this after every religion study session.
The ability to put a topic in your own words is the most understated skill schools teach you, but it is the most vital. It shows you actually know what you are saying, it gives the topic you have studied some sort of meaning to you, and it shows you are not just copying what the book says. Another key way to test yourself is by explaing the topic to someone else. You can do this maybe once a week to a family member or a friend. You can spend a few minutes explaining a topic you have studied that week, and this shows to you whether you really know it or not.
Specific religions to focus on
In the religion course, there are six sections – communities, christianity, world religions, questions of faith, celebration of faith and morality. You must study all of these sections of course. However, for the ‘world religions’ section, there is about four religions to choose from, but I advise to just focus your main study on one of these as there is no point in wasting your time spending hours studying each of them. In this section in the exam, the questions will always give you an option to write your answer based on a religion of your choice (from the four religions), so you really only need to focus your study on one of them.
It is good to know some of the main facts in each of the religions incase they come up in the ‘short questions’ section, but for the ‘world religions’ question, concentrate the bulk of your study on just one. If I was you, I would choose Islam, as it is by far the easiest. Islam is an easily understandable religion, and if you sign up to JC-Learn, we have devised notes focused on the whole religion of Islam, which cover you for any possible question asked in the ‘world religions’ section.
Importance of the religion journal
The religion journal is hugely important as it is 20% of your overall result. You will do this in class, but you must stay focused when writing this and not get distracted as it has a massive contribution to your grade. The journal is based on a you/your teacher choosing a topic and then possibly visiting a religious place associated to that topic or just researching that topic in more depth (For example, you may go to the local mosque as part of the topic of Islam, and then would have to write about your experience in the journal).
You must prepare well for your journal work by researching about the topic beforehand, as you need to write about your preparation in your journal. You must also be writing notes during your experience as there are sections on the work and discoveries you undertook and found during your experience as you need to write about this too in the journal. Finally, there is a ‘looking back’ section, so you will need to understand what you have gotten out of the experience, and how your thoughts have changed about the chosen topic.
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