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'It’s a crazy advantage we have' - Students at Pobalscoil Neasáin kick off Leaving Cert exams under Covid restrictions

Leaving Certificate students across the country today finished their first set of exams today.

The first English paper and Home Economics were scheduled for today, and the students at Pobalscoil Neasáin were generally pleased with the paper they faced.

“There was lots of time because of the new structure of the exam. So, it really did help and ease a lot of the stress in the exam,” Mark Roche said.

Similarly, Tmoni Nolan said that: “It’s a crazy advantage that we have”.

“People were thinking it was going to be disastrous, but a little bit of work done - and with the predicted grades and your exam - it’s a no-brainer.”

These sentiments were echoed by Matthew Pollard, who said: “I think it’s good, because you can do both. And whatever one you do better in, you get. If the exam doesn’t go well, you have the predicted grade to fall back on.”

Due to the ongoing pandemic, more options were provided to students in terms of their final assessment than ever before. But of course, it also brought with it its own set of challenges.

Student Jessica Moore said: “It was really tough, because it was me, my sister, and my brother - we were all working from home”.

“My sister is younger than me but she’s in secondary school, and my brother’s in college. So, it was really tough for us all. But I think my hard work paid off, or hopefully it did.”

Discussing the grade prediction system, she added: “I think it is a bit difficult for people not sitting our exams, because our predicted grades are based on fifth and sixth year.

“So, if somebody didn’t really have a good time during fifth year, they might be a bit nervous, but overall, I think it will be very beneficial for us all.”

Mark said something similar, emphasising how the new system has removed some of the anxiety typically associated with the Leaving Cert.

“I definitely it eases a lot of the unnecessary stress of the Leaving Cert. I felt a lot more calm than I think I normally would. Like, even last night and this morning, there wasn’t that crippling pressure I suppose,” he said.

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