Saturday 17 March 2018

By my calculations I made right choice on maths

I'm currently employing a new exam technique. It was recommended to me by my cousin Donard.

His bizarre advice is to avoid all study the night before. Instead, you should get a 99 cone and a good sleep.

As Donard is now on the board of an international dairy food company, maybe I should take his advice.

However, yesterday I did something I probably shouldn't have done. With the morning off, I sat in the garden and made the mistake of looking at a CAO points calculator.

Lucky for me, the course I'm applying for doesn't require honours maths. This suited me perfectly. I never really liked it anyway.

I switched to ordinary level at the start of fifth year and it's a decision I'm always glad I made. Even so, I was still a little addled on my first glance at yesterday's Maths Paper 1. It seemed like an almost meaningless sequence of Xs and Os. Once I settled down and got used to using a pen again, it was fine.

My unusual exam strategy meant I had a very clear head owing to lack of cramming. The paper was mostly okay with the exception of calculus, my one weakness.

Yesterday's exam was probably the last algebra I'll ever do (or ever want to do). Ours is the first year to sit paper 1 with Project Maths. I was at first suspicious of being roped into a Department of Education and Skills project. Some say the course is a means of bringing maths down in to ordinary life. However, I know that if it were a practical syllabus we'd be learning more about budgeting and less about triangles.

I left the hall where my peers were articulating random numbers such as 36 and 27. With a masterful shortcut through the school car park, I managed to avoid this discussion and slipped away to my dad's car.

The exam paper served as a workbook in which you write your answers. As a result, we couldn't take the paper home. This is perfection itself.

I'm delighted to have completed my penultimate maths exam. From Monday on, I will happily leave maths to the professionals.

Laura Gaynor is a student at Ursuline College, Sligo

Irish Independent

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