Are you looking to maximise your potential in the upcoming Leaving Certificate exams? Check out this guide to see how you can get the most out of your exams this year.
What is 625 points?
Achieving 625 points in the Leaving Cert is no mean feat. It means that a student scored over 90% in at least six subjects at Higher Level, including Maths.
This highlights the importance of Maths for the Leaving Cert – to get those extra 25 points for an H6 or better.
How hard is it to get 625 points?
According to the most recent statistics from the CAO, 58,056 students sat the Leaving Cert exams last year. However, only 5.5% of these students scored above 600 points, and an even smaller 1.9% got the maximum score of 625 points. This means that just over 1,000 students got the maximum number of points in the 2022 exams and are now in the university of their dreams.
While 1,000 students may not seem that large, it is actually far greater than in previous years. In 2016, for example, this number was roughly only 200 students. We have seen a remarkable increase in points over the last few years as a result of assessment reforms mandated by the disruption to education caused by COVID-19, but college officials warn that this is highly unsustainable. Although this increase in points seems to be reducing as we return to a more traditional Leaving Cert, it is still possible for students to achieve 625 points by taking the following steps.
1. Have a plan
We’ve all heard the quotes…
“A goal without a plan is just a wish”Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
“He who fails to plan is planning to fail”Sir Winston Churchill
But how can you plan effectively to achieve the maximum score in the Leaving Cert? The first step is to make a list of all the topics that you need to cover – the table of contents at the beginning of your textbook for each subject should help with this. Then, you need to plan which order you are going to study the topics in, and when.
When planning your study, it is important to consider Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve. In brief, this tells us that to truly remember something for an extended period of time, we need to revise it at regular intervals.
For a more detailed study plan, check out our comprehensive guide by clicking here. In our online grinds school, we provide students with a detailed plan to study the entire Leaving Certificate Maths course. If you’re interested to learn more, book a free trial class!
And if you want a template to plan your study each day, look no further! We recommend using our custom design below to prioritise your work for each day. You can click the button below to download it for yourself.
2. Focus on understanding, rather than memorising
When you work on understanding concepts rather than just memorising answers, you become much more comfortable with the sort of questions you will face in an exam. Students who just focus on rote learning tend to get thrown off by faced by a curve ball in the Leaving Cert exams.
The Leaving Certificate exams are looking to test your ability to apply the knowledge you have learned in school to questions that you haven’t seen before – they’re testing critical thinking, not rote learning.
The first step to 625 points is making sure you understand every concept you are taught in school. Ask questions, do further reading, and make sure you remember all the key points. A great way to test how well you know a topic is to try teaching it to someone else, such as a sibling, parent, or friend. This is what worked for Vimanyu Taneja, who achieved eight H1’s in his Leaving Cert in 2022.
3. Read and highlight the question
Before you can answer any question, you must understand what is being asked of you. A common technique we use is “RTFQ” or “Read the question.” When first reading through the question, it can help to underline or highlight key information. This helps you to stay focused and calm on the day of the exam.
Once you believe you have finished the question, read over it again to make sure you have answered everything that was asked of you. In Maths, this can mean checking that you have the right number of decimal places in your answer or making sure you have solved for the right variable.
In our weekly grinds classes, we refer to the Leaving Cert Maths Grading System to help students understand how each question in their exam is graded. We will teach you how to read questions like a professional, so you know exactly what the examiner is looking for and how you can get the marks to ace your exams!
5. Timing is everything
As usual, there are two Maths papers to complete. This year, each paper is 2 and a half hours long and worth 300 marks. To make sure you use your time wisely, we recommend that you spend 15 minutes on each question in Section A and 20 minutes on each question in Section B. This will leave you with roughly 40 minutes at the end of your exam to complete any questions you didn’t get to finish and check over your answers. A calculated approach is key for Leaving Certificate Maths.
6. Practice, practice, practice
As you get closer to the exams, your focus should lie on getting comfortable with exam-style questions. You have already spent time understanding the concepts and memorising key information, so the next step is to practice applying your knowledge to questions that mimic the Leaving Cert. It can also help to look over the syllabus at this time, to make sure that you haven’t left anything out.
It is important to develop a strategy for the exam, so you can comprehend the obscure ways in which questions can be phrased. On the day, you may become overwhelmed if a question is unlike anything you have seen before, and practice can help to avoid this. If this happens, take a deep breath and read over the question multiple times. But always remember: it’s not just you that’s confused by the question. Everyone else in the country is looking at the exact same words on their page.
For practice material, we recommend that you find and use past exam papers on Examinations.ie. It can also be helpful to check the marking schemes here. This website is your best friend for the Leaving Cert exams!
On the day, try and attempt as many questions as possible and never erase any workings. Everything you write is valuable and can be marked. Examiner cannot give you any marks for something that is erased or crossed out. Make sure you bring a watch with you to keep track of time, along with any other material you need for your exam. Lastly, don’t forget to eat well, get at least 8 hours of sleep a night, and exercise regularly between study sessions. These tips should put you well on your way to achieving the maximum number of points in your Leaving Certificate exams.
Follow these 6 steps to get 625 points in the Leaving Cert. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.
Wishing you the very Best of luck,
TJ, Founder of Breakthrough Maths 💯