Tuesday 23 January 2018

Problem-solver works out a way with special maths exam

My Story: My Leaving results pretty much ruled me out of every engineering course in the country" says Declan

Declan Byrne, NUI Maynooth Photo: James Connolly / Picsell8
Declan Byrne, NUI Maynooth Photo: James Connolly / Picsell8

Claire McCormack

Despite not getting a First Round offer, Declan Byrne persevered and is well on his way to becoming an electrical engineer.

Having narrowly missed the honours maths grade required for most engineering courses, Declan momentarily thought he'd have to repeat.

"I was pretty much ruled out of every engineering course in the country. It was really disappointing and disheartening", said Declan, now 20.

But the quick thinker from Castlebellingham, Co Louth, had a flash back.

"I remembered seeing an advert for a second chance maths exam to get on the engineering course at NUI Maynooth," said Declan, who hadn't applied to the university on his CAO application.

The eldest of four immediately felt more optimistic and got in touch with the college. Two weeks later, he sat and passed the special maths exams.

"Results don't always reflect your ability. I got a D1 in honours maths in my Leaving Cert but I've never had to repeat a maths test in engineering. Sometimes you can just mess up on the day."

With a vacancy on the course at NUI Maynooth for that September, Declan was offered a spot and joined a class of around 25 students.

"If it wasn't for that maths test I wouldn't have been able to do electronic engineering. I would have had to repeat maths again or do some other degree."

Now heading into third year, Declan said the course is tough and requires a lot of study. But he finds his small class is a big advantage.

"You don't need to be brilliant at maths to do engineering but you do need to be determined," said Declan.

Declan's advice to any student who doesn't get the course they want is to keep it cool: "Look at every option you could possibly take because there are alternatives to repeating. Don't sit and wallow."

Irish Independent

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