Are you ready to climb that mountain all over again?
Toal warns against too much of a results focus. “You can’t forget that repeating students also need to be educated. School, even when repeating, shouldn’t be just about points and results. It’s about education and I think that a regular school rather than one that is simply focussed on repeating is well equipped to provide that,” he says. Changing teachers can lend a new perspective to students, but the key according to Toal is hard work.
NAME: MARIE DONNELLY
From: Rathfarnham, Dublin
“I was certain that I didn’t want to repeat. I was saying that all year but when it came down to it I didn’t want to settle for something that I didn’t really want.
“I was aiming high last year. I did loads during the year but I found the exams really tricky. I ended up with 515 points on results day. I was on the brink of an A in so many subjects. It was so disappointing. I was offered science in UCD – I even accepted it – but when it came down to making the decision I decided to give the Leaving Cert another try.
“I did go back and view my papers but by that stage I had decided to repeat so it was more for my own information than looking for upgrades. It was pretty useful to see how the papers were marked.
“I’m hoping to get veterinary. I’ve wanted to do it since I was really young. I decided to go to Rathmines College. It’s really close to where I live and it caters for a lot of repeat students. It’s not really expensive which is always good. I liked the relaxed atmosphere and it was nice to get to know a whole new group of people.
“I did eight subjects last year, so this year I dropped English and Irish and just focused on the remaining six. There was a lot of pressure throughout the year. I was worrying the whole time. It’s weird but for all that stress, I actually found the year quite enjoyable. It was much better than doing the Leaving the first time around.
“This year, I felt much better coming out of the exams. I really hope I’ve done enough. I don’t know, we’ll see. If I don’t get it this year, I think I’ll end up taking a different route like pharmacy or radiology. I think I’d enjoy those careers.
“I’d definitely recommend repeating. I think it helps if you have something to aim for. I was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience.”
NAME: LEE CAMPBELL
From: South Circular Road, Dublin
“I had no idea what I wanted to do first time around and I sort of mucked up my CAO form. I was offered arts in UCD but I wasn’t really convinced. Some cousins of mine had repeated and they ended up getting exactly what they wanted. I thought if I repeated, I’d be able to get more points and I’d have a year to reflect on what I actually wanted to do.
“I opted to go to the Institute of Education – I couldn’t have repeated in my old school anyway but I had heard good things. It’s the place to go I suppose. It’s much more like college than school. You have to want to repeat. There’s absolutely no point in trying to make someone do it. It won’t work. I think it suited me really well.
“I went through phase after phase of different ideas. For a while I wanted to do law, then I toyed with the idea of teaching but science was always in the background. It just gradually began to rise to the top I suppose. I’m particularly interested in earth sciences but I was advised to keep my options open if I can so I’ve science in Trinity down as my first choice and earth science is my number two.