'Marathon not a sprint': Junior Cert students' delight after clinching perfect results
A new grading system for some subjects means the number of students receiving top marks in the Junior Cycle Exams plummeted, but 19 students still opened their results yesterday to find they had achieved the best possible set of results.
The reform process, which now grades Science and Business at common level, has also meant those subjects along with English no longer mark in the ABC style, but on a spectrum ranging from Distinction to No Grade.
Last year, 47 students achieved As in 10 or 11 higher level subjects.
Next year, French, German, Spanish and Italian will follow suit and the rest up to 2022.
One student whom the new system didn't affect is Christina Prida from Gorey Community School. Despite missing two weeks of school in the run-up, the 16-year-old received the top mark possible in all 11 subjects.
"I was so shocked," she told the Irish Independent.
"I opened my first five subjects very slowly. The first subject I saw was English, and I was so surprised that I screamed when I saw I got a distinction because I was not expecting that. That was one of my hardest subjects. I didn't even want to study for it because it was so hard. It's the kind of subject that you're either good at or you're not so I just said I'll concentrate on the other subjects and see how English goes.
"The last two weeks before the exams I did a lot of study because I was very busy during the year. I had a bible quiz competition in Chicago for two weeks, so when I came back I said I would knuckle down and I did a lot for those two weeks.
As well as the dip in the number of students achieving top marks, there was a notable rise in the number of students failing History. More than 4,000 students - 10pc - who received their results failed the subject, receiving an E grade or lower.
This is in contrast with an otherwise low failure rate for higher-level subjects and comes as Education Minister Joe McHugh moved to make the subject mandatory for all future Junior Cycle students.
Another student with top marks was Koby Soyler (16), from Castleknock College in Dublin.
The results left him pleasantly surprised, despite studying throughout the year.
"I'm feeling good. It was a great day so I'm just glad it's all finished now," he said.
"What I did was spread my study out for the entire year. It really was a marathon and not a sprint.
"So I think doing it throughout the year was better than leaving it all until the end."