Leaving Cert diary: ‘I’m doing the exams in a soundproof room on my own’

Student diarist Cathal Moloney, who has dyslexia and dyspraxia, can’t wait for the exams to be over

I’m doing the Leaving Cert alone. None of my classmates are in this soundproof room with me. Because I have dyslexia and dyspraxia, I speak my answers into a tape.

There’s an examiner in the room with me, but otherwise it is just me and my tablet. I press record, and I can also press pause and stop. I can’t edit what I have said, but I can delete it and say it again.

I find it a lot easier to speak than to write. I can say things out loud but I’m not great at typing or writing. I have a different process: I take time to plan in my head what I want to say, almost creating imaginary bullet points, and then I say it.

It’s not just that I’m by myself in the exam room; I’m also the only person in my year who is taking higher-level maths. It’s just me, so there is a lot of pressure, and it’s also a bit hard to have nobody to talk to about it. This makes it feel even more alienating than the other tests.


For me, I was a little bit worried about the start of the exams. I knew English paper one would be hard for me. I think they want the compositions done in a certain way, but I have a style and approach that may not get the marks.

Opening English paper two today, I immediately went to the poets section, and I couldn’t have been happier to see Paula Meehan and Adrienne Rich were my top two. Both were there!

As for the engineering exam, it was solid, and I found it much easier than the mock paper, with a lot of really good questions. I have been spending a lot of time playing with augmented, virtual and mixed realities, so I really liked that there was a question on them.

It hasn’t been easy to study during this good weather, and I will be super butthurt if the weather turns bad when I am all done. If I wasn’t doing exams, I would love to be in the park hanging with my friends, or playing basketball in Eamonn Ceannt Park.

Hopefully there will be time for this during the summer. I’ve got two holidays lined up: one in Florida and one in Portugal – so it’s no wonder I can’t wait for the exams to be over.

Cathal Moloney is a Leaving Cert student at Clogher Road Community College in Crumlin