Thursday, 23 June 2016

Leaving Cert: Aftermath

Hi all! Long time no see, but I am at last finished with my Leaving Cert and the ordeal that is 6th Year so you'll be hearing more from me now. I'm going to give a quick recap of how the Leaving Cert went in this post, and discuss it more generally later.

Wednesday June 8: English Paper 1

English was grand, you can't really study for it sure. I didn't really like the comprehensions or the essay titles but I did enjoy writing a blog post in response to President Obama's speech about funding NASA. At first I was horrified by the idea of arguing to defund NASA, but honestly ranting is a lot more fun than praising something is. Still love you though NASA. For my Composition I did the debate arguing for students to go travelling before they go to college and got to recount some anecdotes about my travel mishaps, such as escaping a €40 fee by literally 2 minutes. My essay was a lot shorter than most other people's (3 pages) so that'll probably take me down but sure look.

Pessimistic Grade: C1 Optimistic Grade: A2

Thursday June 9: English Paper 2

Neither of my two favourite poets, Yeats and Plath, came up, but luckily I had studied 5 poets and the three others (Dickinson, Durcan and Bishop) came up. I really liked my Durcan essay although now that I think about it I probably got carried away with quotes instead of answering the question... Anyway, my Lear essay was grand but my Comparative was a flaming pile of crap, because the question I chose literally just did not apply in any way whatsoever to one of my texts so I couldn't discuss it. Oh well!

Pessimistic Grade: C1 Optimistic Grade: A2

Wednesday June 10: Maths Paper 1

What an absolute beauty of a Maths paper. Honestly, so gorgeous - there were only a couple of tiny things I couldn't do. I did make a few slips and I'm sure there were mistakes I didn't notice but really, really nice paper overall. 

Pessimistic Grade: B1 Optimistic Grade: A1

Monday June 13: Maths Paper 2 & Irish Paper 1

Maths P2 was painful at the start, particularly in Q3 and 4 where I literally couldn't figure out a single part, but the long questions were nice. 

Pessimistic Grade: C1 Optimistic Grade: A2

Irish P1... well, Irish P1 can't really be hard, can it? I never ever learn off essays (can't believe that people do honestly), I just try to develop my all-round fluency in a language throughout the year, so I just went with an essay title that seemed interesting, which was to give a radio talk as a new TD talking about your plans for your term. Wrote 4ish pages. The listening was grand, think I missed one or two things.

Pessimistic Grade: B1 Optimistic Grade: A1

Tuesday June 14: Irish Paper 2

Irish Paper 2 was very strange. The poet didn't come up even though it always does (case in point: I studied literally one thing for that exam and it was the poet for each poem), and Gnáthrud and Géibheann didn't come up, for the zillionth year running. It was grand though, I knew the basic stories of the poems that did come up so I could just use my head, and I think I got on well in that exam. I sadly did not get around to learning any An Triail quotes but I knew them from the mocks so I got quite a lot in.

Pessimistic Grade: B1 Optimistic Grade: A1

Wednesday June 15: French & History

The Hell Day. Or so I thought.

French was fine, as it always is. Hope I don't miss the A1 by 2% again. 

Pessimistic Grade: B1 Optimistic Grade: A1

History, amazingly, was brilliant. I've always despised history, especially since I got a D1 in it in the mocks, but by the time I got into that exam I realised that I actually knew so much more than I'd given myself credit for and my study had actually paid off, even though it had been massively frustrating and boring at the time. So that was awesome. Still no idea how I did though. Wrote 4 pages for two of the essays and 3.5 for the third, plus 2 pages for the short essay. So that's a lot by my standards, but doesn't even touch a lot of people's. How do you write 19 pages in 2 hours 50 minutes?!

Pessimistic Grade: C2? Optimistic Grade: A2

Monday 20 June: Physics

I had been so so excited for Physics because I've worked so hard for two years in it and I absolutely adore it and want to be a physicist ... But that exam just completely threw me and I made bad question choices, bad timing choices (starting another question with five minutes left instead of checking my answers), accidentally left out part of a question ... What a nightmare. Cried that evening (late-onset Leaving Cert breakdown?).

Pessimistic Grade: B3 Optimistic Grade: A2

Tuesday 21 June: Chemistry

Chemistry was absolutely beautiful, especially in contrast to the day before. I really loved it, it was just amazing. Nothing but praises for that paper. I estimate I got about 92%

Pessimistic Grade: B1 Optimistic Grade: A1 

Overall Estimates

Pessimistic: 500 points, which would get me my third choice (Science in Maynooth, which is around 405) or maybe my first or second (Science in Trinity, 515 and Science in UCD 510) in later round offers.

Optimistic: 605 points, which would get me, um, any of my choices.

Disclaimer: I'm already, as a person, biased towards being optimistic, so my pessimistic estimates may not in fact be pessimistic enough. This to say: if I do worse than I say here, don't bring it up. K? 

Overall, doing that calculation just there was quite reassuring because it shows that even if I was underpessimistic I still have lots of wiggle room to get my third choice. Although I am considering swapping my third for my fourth, which is Science in DCU (less commuting) and is around 470 points. 

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