Leaving Cert diary: ‘So far, the exams have gone well, and I’m happy with how I’ve done’

Ciarán Kehoe says doing the Leaving feels strange, but facing it in a pandemic is more surreal

Ciarán Kehoe from Castlecomer Community School in Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny. Photograph: Laura Hutton / The Irish Times.

Ciarán Kehoe from Castlecomer Community School in Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny. Photograph: Laura Hutton / The Irish Times.

 

So far, the exams have gone well, and I’m happy with how I’ve done.

The pressure is on for me, as I’m hoping to get the points to study dentistry in Trinity or UCC, but I’ve been strategic with which exams I sat and which exams I went for predicted grades in.

The English papers were fairly tough going, and required a lot of writing, so it was good to have them over and done with - although the poets I wanted came up.

I’ve just sat maths paper two in the morning and then straight into the Irish paper one exam. I seem to be an outlier in preferring maths paper two to maths paper one, but the questions that came up really suited me and one particular proof was delightful to see as well.

As for Irish, paper one is focused on a listening comprehension - not really my strongest point when it comes to the language, to be honest - and a composition.

I feel the paper went okay though. I wrote an essay on the advantages and disadvantages of technology, so I had lots of grammar and vocabulary that I could draw from given our Covid-19 experience over the past year.

Surreal

Ah yes, Covid. It feels strange enough to be doing the Leaving Cert, but to be doing it in the middle of a pandemic adds to the surreality. Of course, because we’ve been doing our Leaving Cert, we would have been inside studying and doing homework for the last two years anyway.

My top study tip has been to write a paragraph and then write it again and just keep writing it until I remember it, and I’ve used homeschool.ie a lot, because they have brilliant notes. That said, it has stung a little not to be able to meet up with friends at the weekend.

I’m hopeful - I think we all are - that there will be a return to a more normal college experience when we start in September or October. I hope we can have a night out when we get our results. First year of college is where it all happens, it’s where you make your new friends and get involved in college life, and I feel for the students who have had that taken from this year.

Ciarán Kehoe is a Leaving Cert student at Castlecomer Community School in Co Kilkenny.