Examwatch: 6 things you need to know today

Can’t compete with exam robots? Read our Junior and Leaving Cert Examwatch digest instead!

Can you compete with exam robots?

Barely a day goes by without a siren warning that robots are about to replace humans in a new areas of the workforce.

This week comes news of a new frontier in the march of the robots: the exam hall.

In China, an artificial intelligence machine has completed the maths section of the country's annual university exams in record time.


The system was developed by a technology firm using a combination of big data, artificial intelligence and natural language recognition technology.

So, do students have a prayer in competing with our new robotic overlords?

The system, called AI-Maths, completed the test in just 22 minutes. Students, by contrast, have two hours to complete it.

Fret not, however. Its scores were below average compared to students, according to the Daily Mail.

The machine scored 105 out of 150. Arts students – famed for their lamentable maths skills – who took the maths exam last year scored an average of 109.

The machine’s inventors say that while it is faster with numbers, it struggles with words.

So, no need to worry about being made redundant by robots just yet, then.

In fact, we wonder how it would cope with the six-hour writing marathon that is Leaving Cert English?

Spontaneously combust, probably.

Tweet of the day: @LolsyByrne: MATHS PAPER 2

Q: What is the probability that you'll ever use log tables again, for anything other than starting a fire? - Leaving Cert student Laura Byrne bids an emotional farewell to her final maths paper.

Number of the day:


- The number of Leaving Certs who received an upgrade in their maths papers last year after appealing their results. This may be of small consolation to anyone who struggled with yesterday’s exam.

Wait! Your study notes could be worth money For many students, the end of the exam is marked by a ceremonial burning of study notes and exam-related paraphernalia.

But before you chuck everything on the fire, bear in mind that those dog-eared, coffee-stained notes could be worth cold, hard cash.

Having received 30 ‘A’ grades at Junior Cert level, Jack Manning, Johnnie Bell and Eamonn Flannery decided to post their notes and exam answers from previous years online.

The result is ExamLearn.ie which aims to make the “process of preparing for exams a little easier”.

It features study tips, an online forum, as well as revision notes and a live chat helpline.

The students have since branched out into Leaving Cert, which they launched in December.

ExamLearn says it now has 13,000-14,000 users between the paid and free services.

The trio eventually hope to expand outside Ireland, taking the service to other English-speaking markets where standardised tests make the content less difficult to source.

Last minute-tips - Tomorrow's Leaving Cert French:

“Always read the question in the written section very carefully. Huge marks are lost in communication by misreading titles. If you are not 100 per cent sure of what the title means, do not attempt the question. Try another question instead.

“If you have time left over, NEVER attempt a fourth question. Spend your time productively – go back and re-read your written answers.

For the diary answer, focus on proofing for tenses errors. In diary/90-word narrative pieces, students often use the present tense by mistake. For opinion pieces, check your nouns and verbs are correct. ie singular noun and singular verb : "le gouvernement doit but les politiciens doivent."

- Tomorrow's Junior Cert French:

“Make sure your postcard/message is long enough. Remember this question is marked out of 30 so try to give two sentences for each point required. Revise the format (intro /ending) for these answers.

"For letter writing, aim for an A4 page maximum. Make sure you answer all five points required. Divide up your work as evenly as possibly so that you have three-four sentences per point. Learn the letter format (date / intro / ending) perfectly as five marks are going for this simple task." - Answers via EssentialFrench.ie, which provides a range of pre-exam tips on Snapchat (@essentialfrench) and live question-and-answer sessions on Instagram (@EssentialFrenchCork).

Up next :

- Tuesday’s exams

Junior Cert:

Business studies paper 1 ( 9.30-12pm)

Business studies paper 2 higher level (2-4pm)

Leaving Cert:

Irish paper 2 (9.30-12.35)

Biology (2-5pm)