Wednesday 19 June 2019

'I still can't believe it' - student discovers she achieved 8 H1s in the Leaving Certificate after getting results re-checked

Edwina Aylward
Edwina Aylward
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

AN INTELLIGENT young woman is over the moon to discover she achieved an incredible eight H1s in the Leaving Certificate - the perfect score - after getting her results re-checked.

Edwina Aylward (18) was one of just eight students who achieved top marks in the Leaving Cert this year and was the only female to do so in 2018.

Edwina, from Knocktopher in Co Kilkenny, told "I got seven H1s and a H2 in accounting, I was pretty happy with that and I got my course.

"Accounting would have been one of my stronger subjects though and my accounting teacher thought it would have been kind of odd and suggested we look at it.

"I wasn't too surprised but I would have expected if I was going to get a H2 it would have been in one of my weaker subjects, like English or Irish, my weaker subjects.

"Although in June after the accounting exam I knew there were things I was uncertain about, and with the nature of the accounting exam one error means all your totals are wrong.

"You could see that throughout the paper there were marks that they just seemed to have forgotten to add in to the total, so it should have been about 9 per cent higher and once we saw that we knew it would automatically go up.

"With accounting it's not like it's a matter of judgement of anything, so we sent it off to be re-checked."

Edwina, who attended The Presentation Secondary School in Kilkenny, got her results back on Tuesday and was surprised to see she had earned eight H1s.

She said: "It's unbelievable, I still can't believe it really, I don't think I've really taken it in.

"I remember on the day that the results came out I saw people in their twenties online saying that the Leaving Cert doesn't matter and that seemed unbelievable to me at the time but since I've started college nobody really talks about the Leaving Cert results ever.

"I can appreciate that getting eight H1s is an achievement and I'm proud of mine, it's nice when your hard work pays off."

She had already got into her dream college course studying maths in Trinity College but says not everyone may be so lucky and thinks maybe the system could be re-assessed to avoid others being disappointed.

"It didn't matter for me in terms of that I got into my college course but I know for so many people that might not be the case - it could be the difference between them getting to do their college course or not and maybe they would have to repeating the Leaving Cert.

"Human error happens and the reality is that out of the tens of thousands of Leaving Cert papers corrected there will be some mistakes when totting the results up.

"Perhaps there is a way that there could be some way of greater communication between colleges and the State Examinations Commission so that third-level institutions could get the updated results sooner.

"Even if the person is offered their course now it could be hard for them to catch up, I know that in my course we've already done five weeks of college, so there would be a lot to catch up on.

"It would be better if the re-checks could come out sooner," Edwina explained.

Edwina has thanked her teachers at The Presentation Secondary School Kilkenny for their support, as she shared her tips for success with this year's batch of exam students.

"It's a mixture of hard work and enjoying the subjects you're doing - I was fortunate enough to be doing STEM and maths-orientated subjects, which is what I like, I think if you enjoy what you're doing it makes it that bit easier.

"I also worked really hard throughout fifth year and sixth year, I found the study methods that worked best for me and focused on my weaker subjects, you just have to keep at it.

"I'd tell anyone doing their Leaving Cert to work hard, find the study methods that suit you, try to be productive when you're studying and make the most of the times when you are motivated.

"Consistency is also the way to go because then you're never under too much pressure," she said.

There's little time to celebrate for Edwina as she is already focusing on achieving top marks in her third-level course.

The modest student said: "I'm getting on well, it's interesting and challenging but I'm enjoying the challenge.

"Right now my focus is on getting good marks in my college course.

"I'm not sure what I want to do afterwards, but I want to work hard and try to see what area of maths I'm most interested in."

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