DETAILS on a newly launched exam strategy to help students achieve crucial CAO points, will be provided at free information evenings in West Cork later this month.

The radical SAS Protocol (Student Achieve Success) uses tried-and-tested military know-how and Neuro Linguistic Programming to hone a student’s mental, psychological, emotional and physical preparation for exams through a range of diverse preparatory strategies.

As part of the course, students will develop skills in building a positive belief system, practising mindfulness, breathing for success and achieving executive performance through “anchoring”, which is a strategy to combat stress, heighten awareness and minimise distraction in the exam arena.

The techniques learned as part of the SAS protocol also provide students with an insight into the discipline of structure and timing, the power of suggestion and the importance of issues such as stress, peer influence, and teachers.

Details about the strategy and information about a follow-up six-hour SAS workshop for students will be provided at two free information evenings in Bandon and Clonakilty later this month.

“As a college lecturer, I was shocked by what I called ‘the contagion of self-destruction’ befalling students in the run-up to exams,” says study expert and former college lecturer John O’Connor.

This was the catalyst for his investigation into how stress and self-belief can affect a student’s memory and exam performance, he said, adding that years years of research went into the protocol.

He studied the psychology behind study, examinations, performance and execution and tested the application of certain strategies to teaching and learning, using “engineering logic, military application and common sense” to develop the programme. Next, with the cooperation of thousands of second and third-level students, he developed what he now calls the SAS protocol.


The protocol has been tested on nearly 5,000 students around Ireland and to date has shown excellent results, declares O’Connor, a former specialist Irish Army soldier, martial arts expert and who also qualified and worked as an engineer before taking up the post of lecturer in a third-level Engineering Faculty.

“The workshop is an interactive and dynamic workshop incorporating a holistic approach to accelerated learning, mnemonics, muscle memory, breathing and script execution and checking,” explains O’Connor, who also worked as a Forensic Accident Investigator before becoming a life coach and turning his focus to the Irish exam system.

He says his protocol brings together a range of techniques, beliefs and strategies which enables students to maximise their exam performance and, in terms of Leaving Cert candidates, achieve the points they require to qualify for a desired third-level course.

However, learning and applying the SAS protocol not only results in the enhancement of a student’s exam performance, he emphasises it is also “a life-long enhancement technique”.

Two information evening on the SAS PROTOCOL will take place, at the Munster Arms Hotel Bandon on Wednesday May 10 between 4:00pm – 6:30pm and at O’Donovan’s Hotel in Clonakilty on Friday May 12 between 4pm and 6:30pm. Attendees are strongly advised to bring pens and notebooks to the event.

The SAS Workshop will cost €99. It will take place on May 29, 30 and 31. Venues to be confirmed. For further information contact John O’Connor on 087 9394128 or on email at [email protected]

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