Leaving Cert diary: ‘I’m frazzled... higher level maths is never easy’

I went for accredited grades in English, so maths paper one was the kick-off for me

John Kevin Malone from Castlecomer Community School in Co Kilkenny. Photograph: Laura Hutton / The Irish Times

John Kevin Malone from Castlecomer Community School in Co Kilkenny. Photograph: Laura Hutton / The Irish Times

 

I’m frazzled, and I’ve only just sat my first exam - higher level maths.

I made a stab at all six questions, although I eventually homed in on four. The consensus among my classmates was that while the paper wasn’t easy - higher level maths is never easy - it was manageable and generous.

It was unusual, however, to see an area and volume question, as that is normally on paper two. And there was no financial maths question.

We have a memory of financial maths unexpectedly appearing on one of the papers a few years ago, so we’re ready for it to pop up on paper two, but it does seem a little unnecessary to be mixing and matching the questions on the two papers, as it makes it harder for us to prepare. A bit of rigidity would actually be quite welcome.

Maths is not my strongest subject, but I’d hope for maybe a H3, and I think I have a good shot because we have such a great teacher in Ms Fiona Morrissey. I’m so lucky to have had her since first year of school; if there’s one good teacher that students need, I think it’s maths.

I went for accredited grades in English, so maths paper one was kick-off for me. It was strange being in the smaller room instead of the larger exam hall, but everything has been strange with Covid.

There have been ups and downs over the past year. Because we couldn’t meet our friends, I decided to develop my own interests more: reading plays and books and watching musicals.

But there’s no doubt that the pandemic impacted on relationships and it was hard to get social contact outside of school, and it was hard to wear a mask in school all day.

While I’m worried, like all my classmates, about the exams and results, I am excited about going to college and meeting like-minded people.

This summer, I’m heading off to work as an assistant at a French college - think of the Gaeltacht but it’s French instead of Irish - at Bandon Grammar School in Cork.

I’m hoping to do law and French so I want to develop my language skills - and, of course, to have fun. We all need some of that after the year we’ve had.

John Kevin Malone is a student at Castlecomber Community College, Kilkenny