As the exam season looms, there has been a huge spike in the number of students downloading an award-winning free study management app designed to help them cope with the intense pressure of the Junior and Leaving Certs.
More than 2,000 students have signed up to myStudyPal since it was launched last autumn – with an 86% jump in users as over 800 signed up in the last month alone.
myStudyPal founder Mark Nealon (20) says that experiencing first-hand the negative effect the stresses and strains of the Leaving Cert had on student’s wellbeing in 2017 inspired him to develop an app to help students stay in control of their exam preparation while also making time for other activities.
Research has highlighted the intense pressure students are under prior to exams. Earlier this month the Samaritans revealed that the day before the Leaving Cert results are released is one of their busiest days of the year for their call centre. A Department of Children and Youth Affairs survey in 2017, How was School Today, found that more than 50% of exam students feel “constantly under strain or pressure”, while an ESRI paper in December of last year alluded to the stress, burnout and mental health problems caused by the Leaving Cert.
Mark explains: “Like many students, I struggled with poor time management, leading to increased anxiety as the exams came closer, which in turn meant I hit the books harder and failed to find time for non-academic activities like sport and hanging out with friends which are vital for supporting your mental health.
“After finally finishing the Leaving, I thought that there had to be a better way for students to make a study plan and structure their study around their academic, extracurricular and personal lives instead of either being slaves to their study or leaving too much to the end. From experience, I knew that unless students had a way to control their study, it would control them.
“So, I decided to defer going to college for a year and started developing myStudyPal. It plans your study and social time in minutes, giving students reassurance that they are organised and are covering all the work they need to, while also ensuring they take some essential time away from the books.”
myStudyPal allows Leaving and Junior Cert students to create their own personal study timetable by simply selecting the subject and topics they need to cover before each exam. It also allows them to set aside time for sport and socialising – ensuring that they get some much-needed respite from exam preparation.
Mark added: “The app reschedules missed study sessions at the click of a button, and reorganises your timetable if any social plans are added at short notice. It also provides push notifications about upcoming study sessions.”
Last month, myStudyPal won the 2019 Irish Student Entrepreneurship Forum National Final, just three months after being accepted into the NovaUCD incubator, and is regularly in the top 10 on the Irish Education iOS App Store chart.