Monday 19 February 2018

Exam diary: Doing a number on Kennedy, Campostela and a Donegal catch

Peadar Lamhna is a student at St Macartan's College, Monaghan

It was with fear that I entered the exam hall with the old rule -- fail maths, fail your Leaving Cert -- ringing in my head. But I can gladly report that Paper 2 was, for me, do-able, accessible and fair.

As 97pc of the higher level maths students tackled the Maclaurin Series and further calculus, I along with 2.5pc of the remaining candidates went for further probability (yes, people actually do questions 9, 10 or 11). It was with much ease after 10 minutes, instead of the usual 20, that I moved on to tackling vectors, two trigonometry questions and the bane of my life, probability, which surprisingly wasn't too bad. The only tricky bit I found was trying to figure out a question about people sitting at a counter.

I think that Project Maths has definitely influenced the non-Project Maths papers, as, going back over past papers for the last time as I packed them into the box, none compared with this year's exam.

After lunch, it was Irish Paper 1 and whilst some (including me) found the first comprehension about Santiago de Compostela a bit challenging -- even though I have a good knowledge of the subject -- I made the required effort.

The comprehension on Ted Kennedy was understandable and could be answered with a bit of knowledge on the Kennedy family without actually reading the piece.

But whereas English had been cruel by not including any politics essays, Irish was in a very good mood, offering two. I had a good old fashioned rant about our politicians, including Ivor, the Tanaiste, Bertie and John O'Donoghue, with a flavouring of Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela thrown in for good measure, and to balance the tirade.

I feel my chances of being employed in any government department have been reduced to negative integers. Oh well, not to worry, it will give the examiner a bit of amusement.

It was then off to the Irish listening test and, thankfully, my recurring nightmare didn't come true. In a 45-minute test that resembled the TG4 regional news round-up but sadly without either of the Seoige sisters, Class of 2010 learned about the famine in Ethiopia, Oxegen (the music festival) and Irish language magazines all through the medium of Irish.

Many people found the tape speakers talked a bit quickly, but, lo and behold, the Donegal dialect was understandable.

Now, it's on to Irish Paper 2 and one can only hope a controversial Donegal poet will make a long overdue appearance to crown off 14 years of learning Irish!

Irish Independent

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