Leaving and Junior Cert: 6 things you need to know

You think you have it bad during the Leaving Cert? Some students in China report using IV drips in a bid to boost performance

Students take a mock college entrance exam near a machine which blocks mobile phone signals at a school in Handan in China’s northern Hebei province. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Students take a mock college entrance exam near a machine which blocks mobile phone signals at a school in Handan in China’s northern Hebei province. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

 

1. Students using hidden wireless devices to cheat in Chinese exams

You think you have it bad during the Leaving Cert?

Try going to China where this week some nine million people in China are currently sitting the national college entrance exams known as the “gaokao”.

The annual exam is a fiercely competitive test that determines the path of a student’s life. Unlike Ireland, there are very few alternative entry routes to third-level.

Some students at a school in the Hebei province report using IV drips in the hope it will boost performance, while girls are encouraged to take the contraceptive pill to delay their periods until after the exam.

Others go further still: Chinese police have found students are resorting to high-tech devices straight out of a James Bond film in an attempt to cheat.

Police this week have shown off wireless devices disguised to look like belts, pens, watches and earpieces.

The International Business Times reports that this year exam sites are equipped with surveillance facilities including vans that detect wireless activity.

Streets around exam halls are also being guarded by the police, and people who make noise on testing days can be fined.

2. Tweet of the day

@jdarganward: Thunder and lightning during #LeavingCert English paper 2. Pathetic fallacy to beat the band

- English teacher James Dargan Ward sees the poetic side of our mixed weather

3. Number of the day

330 The number of girls who sat Thursday’s Leaving Cert engineering paper, compared to 5,089 boys

4. Career choice options

Most Leaving Cert students will soon be over the hump of the exams and casting another eye back over the CAO choices.

If you do find your mind drifting from exams – or just want an excuse not to study but still feel that you’re working – there are some useful websites out there.

We’re all familiar with Qualifax.ie, but it’s not the only one. Fetchcourses.ie is a really well-organised website that lays out all your PLC and further education options, while UniBrowse.ie is a new online support platform that aims to make course searching simpler for CAO applicants.

Unibrowse supports students through the process by making searching easy for them and helping them to quickly evaluate all their courses. So far, the website has helped over 12,000 students and that number is growing.

If you’re still not sure, it’s worth checking some or all of them out before the change of mind deadline at the end of this month.

5. Up Today

Junior Cert

Geography (9.30-11.30)

Environmental and social studies (9.30-11.30)

Maths paper 1 (2-4.00/4.30pm)

Leaving Cert

Geography (9.30-12.20pm)

Maths paper 1 (2-4.30pm)

6. Last-minute tips Leaving Cert maths paper 2 (Monday)

“Probability, statistics, geometry and trigonometry are the main areas on this paper. Make sure to know your log tables and where to look for statistics formulas. Indeed, take a moment to look at the different formulas and the page they are on. Bring in two calculators to the exam in case one breaks. Read the questions carefully as paper two does require a jump from the words of the question to the maths you have to write: think ahead of how your answer should look like at the end." - Luke Saunders, founder of Studyclix and teacher at Jesus and Mary Secondary School, Enniscrone, Sligo. Irish paper one (Monday):

“Often seen as the easier of the two papers, this can lull students into complacency. Get your ears ready for the cluaistiscint and have a listen to RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta or the Studyclix aural revision tool.

“When it comes the essay, bring in phrases and vocabulary that you know. And use the time: if you’re finished early go over it and check for small grammar or spelling mistakes that can prove costly, so check over those fadas and séimhiús again. - Éamonn Sweeney, content and communities editor at Studyclix.ie