About the Tutor

Daniell Verveen - BSc(Hons) Science Education with Concurrent Teaching Education - DCU
 

As a student, Daniell attended the very prestigious East Glendalough Secondary School in Wicklow Town before persuing his interests and furthering his studies in Mathematical, Chemical, Biological & Physical Sciences at Dublin City University. Excited by the prospects of helping other students to achieve their academic goals as he did, he took concurrent teaching education as part of his degree in the hope that one day he may be in a position to offer an additional academic facility for the students of his home town - Wicklow, and surrounding areas. His belief is that every student deserves the opportunity to utilise a facility that is going to help them achieve their academic goals and ultimately help them achieve their longer-term career goals. His vision therefore has been realised through the development of Exam Focus Ireland. Exam Focus Ireland aims, in the very near future, to expand both in the direction of subject availability but also in geographical location while ensuring to maintain its low cost and small class sizes.

Junior Certificate Maths - Higher Level

It is beyond any reasonable doubt that Junior Certificate Maths plays a huge part in dictating a student's future in mathematics. If a student does not get the right help and tuition in the early days of their mathematical careers, they will struggle to obtain the basic fundamental understanding of 'maths' as a whole which can cause major problems for a student in the future. Maths is like many other subjects in the respect that it shares the same learning/development structure. If a strong, solid foundation is not built, the structure that begins to be constructed on top of it will eventually reach a point where building is no longer possible. The good news is that this foundation can be altered and corrected with the right help and support at the right time. Here at Exam Focus Ireland our Junior Certificate Maths course is designed in a way that students will not only learn how to do the questions that they are required to answer on an exam paper, but investigate and discover why they are approaching a question in a particular way, as per the new Project Maths Syllabus. On a more long-term planning note, it is important, in our opinion, that students have the opportunity to take Higher Level Maths for The Leaving Certificate. Particuarly with 25 extra CAO points up for grabs for students who pass the Higher Level Leaving Certificate Paper. However if a student does not get the required help that is often neededto take Higher Level Maths at Junior Certificate, it is rare that they will be in a position to take Higher Level at Leaving Certificate. For those of you interested in the figures, the numbers of Leaving Cert Maths students taking Higher Level since the introduction of the 25 bonus points has increased from 16% in 2011 to 27% thi year, however the failure rate also increased (as a percentage of students who say higher level, so don't be mislead into thinking that's only because more people sat the exam). This clearly indicates that many students who possibly didn't get the help they needed at Junior Certificate Higher Level, made a baold move to stick out Leaving Certificate Higher Level, but sadly just missed out on a grade. We want to ensure this does not happen to our students. Our course structure is simple. We take an average of one single topic per week. In this class we outline clearly all of the important definitions, terms and procedures that will be required to be known. Notes will be clearly laid out. Exam styled questions will be answered in class and more questions recommended with full solutions provided. The class will be sharp and to the point with the aim to allow students leave the class with the ability and confidence to attempt more and more questions on the topic on their own. Further to this we have set up a discussion forum where students and tutors will be able to interact 24/7. The provisional schedule for Junior Certificate Maths is outlined below but may be subject to minor change.

 

Semester 1

Week 1: Rational Numbers

Week 2: Factors

Week 3: Fractions

Week 4: Quadratic & Simultaneous Equations

Week 5: Inequalities

Week 6: Sets

Week 7: Indices, Scientific Notations & Reciprocals

Week 8: Functions

Week 9: Graphing Functions

Week 10: Distance, Speed & Time

Week 11: Intensive Recap & Revision Session

 

Semester 2

Week 1: Geometry

Week 2: Coordinate Geometry of the Line

Week 3: Perimeter, Area & Volume

Week 4: Financial Maths 1

Week 5: Financial Maths 2

Week 6: Probability 1

Week 7: Probability 2

Week 8: Statistics 1

Week 9: Statistics 2

Week 10: Trigonometry 1

Week 11: Trigonometry 2

Week 12: Patterns & Sequences

Week 13: Proofs & Constructions

Week 14: Intensive Recap & Revision Session

 

 

 

Leaving Certificate Maths - Ordinary Level
Leaving Certificate Ordinary Level Maths has proven, since the inroduction of project maths, to be quite challenging. Leaving Certificate Maths students are now required to display a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts, even at Ordinary Level. Although this makes exam preparation slightly more tedious, it is significantly more rewarding if the students can grasp it, as it will help them substantially in any college maths-related courses or mathematical modules they may take, and even give them a greater appreciation for maths in every day life. The most common grade acheived by students last year in maths was a C2, and we believe we can equip our students to attain grades far higher than this. The most common problem that we face with Ordinary Level Maths students is that they are generally very good at working out a solution to a problem once the problem is explained and a procedure is recommended to them. However we find that a lot of students fall down when they see an arbitrary question, possibly out of context, and simply do not know where to begin. Once they are placed on the right path they are fine, but getting started is often an issue. An issue however that is easily fixed, and one that we strongly address in our programme. Our Leaving Certificate Ordinary Level maths programme is one that has been well thought through and structured and students who join at the start of the first semester are guaranteed to see remarkable results in their grades over the course of the year. The provisional schedule for Leaving Certificate Ordinary Maths is outlined below but may be subject to minor change.

 

Semester 1

Week 1: Rational Numbers

Week 2: Algebra 1

Week 3: Algebra 2 

Week 4: Algebra 3

Week 5: Arithmetic

Week 6: Financial Mathematics

Week 7: Complex Numbers 1

Week 8: Complex Numbers 2

Week 9: Sequence & Series (Patterns) 1

Week 10: Sequence & Series (Patterns) 2 

Week 11: Length, Area & Volume

 

Semester 2

Week 1: Functions

Week 2: Differential Calculus

Week 3: Aplications of Differential Calculus

Week 4: Geometry of the Line

Week 5: Geometry of the Circle

Week 6: Trigonometry 1

Week 7: Trigonometry 2

Week 8: Probability 1

Week 9: Probability 2

Week 10: Statistics 1

Week 11: Statistics 2

Week 12: Enlargements & Constructions

Week 13: Proofs

Week 14: Intensive Recap & Revision Session



 

 

Leaving Certificate Maths - Higher Level

Possibly one of the most important subject requirements for college courses ranging from Engineering to Medicine to Business, is maths, and preferably at Higher Level. We would like to highlight a point to 4th/5th year students who are trying to decide whether to try and ride out Higher Level Maths or drop to Ordinary Level. Bare this in mind.  Very often in college prospectus', colleges will state that in order to obtain a place in a particular course, an honour grade in ordinary level maths is sufficient. We would just like to make students aware that this does not necessarily mean that ordinary level maths will be standard of maths taught during the course. As former students ourselves at Exam Focus Ireland, we have seen how many students from ordinary level maths backgrounds have struggled through their years at college due to insufficient mathematical knowledge and background even though the course requirement was Ordinary Level Maths. We therefore urge students to look further into the course content and the different modules that will be offered. If many of these modules are mathematical, there is a good chance that the standard will be much greater than Ordinary Leaving Certificate. The sole purpose of us mentioning this is that for any students who are currently sitting on that ever so common danger-line between higher and ordinary level maths - DO NOT DROP DOWN!! At least not yet!! If time allows, try get help and do not be afraid of asking for help. The new higher level project maths course is extremely tough and we acknowledge that and that is why we are here today. We want to see you succeed so give it a chance, particularly if you see a future in a career that uses maths in any shape or form. 2 years of hard work in the subject at Higher Level for Leaving Cert will pay off tenfold during college and on into your career of choice. The provisional schedule for Leaving Certificate Higher Level Maths is outlined below but may be subject to minor change.

 

Semester 1

Week 1: Number Systems

Week 2: Algebra 1

Week 3: Algebra 2

Week 4: Indices & Logarithms

Week 5: Arithmetic

Week 6: Financial Mathematics

Week 7: Complex Numbers 1

Week 8: Complex Numebrs 2

Week 9: Sequence & Series (Patterns)

Week 10: Induction

Week 11: Length, Area & Volume

 

Semester 2

Week 1: Differential Calculus

Week 2: Aplications of Differential Calculus

Week 3: Integration

Week 4: Geometry of the Line

Week 5: Geometry of the Circle

Week 6: Trigonometry 1

Week 7: Trigonometry 2

Week 8: Probability 1

Week 9: Probability 2

Week 10: Statistics 1

Week 11: Statistics 2

Week 12: Enlargements & Constructions

Week 13: Proofs

Week 14: Intensive Recap & Revision Session

About the Courses, Structure & Layout
Junior Certificate Science - Higher Level

In our experience, Science for Junior Certificate is not a subject that has caused as much of a problem as possibly maths for example. However the course is changing, and exam papers are becoming less predictable and more challenging regarding detail of answers required. Junior Certificate Science is an astronomically broad course, excuse the pun, and there is a substantial amount of content to get through. Last year less than 10% of students sitting the higher level paper achieved an A grade, however, a staggering 70% of those students received a B or a C. Don't get us wrong these honour results are fantastic and show great promise for uptake of science subjects for Leaving Certificate, however it shows us that there is, in general, a huge quantity of students that are extremely close to reaching that A grade but for some reason are stuck in or around the B/C mark. After doing some research with both the students and the teachers of ireland, we found that there is a simlpe explanation for these results. Students tend to grasp each new chapter that they learn over the course of their 2/3 years while studying Junior Certificate Science. However, many teachers found that once they moved on to the next topic, a lot of the key concepts of the previous topic had been forgotten. A great example a teacher gave was that he had done the topic of forces with his 2nd year class, and in doing so covered the phenomenon that although an object's weight can vary depending on the forces that are acting on it (eg. gravity), its mass will always remain constant. When the chapter was tested he reported that 70% of students displayed an understanding that mass is always constant but weight is variable. However, when the teacher moved on to the next topic of density and completely covered its contents, he gave a class test on the density chapter, but adding in a bonus question at the end to do with 'weight vs mass'. He reported that only 15% of students answered that bonus question correctly. This is just one brief example of one of the biggest problems Junior Certificate Science students face, and that's "remembering all of the content." And we completely understand because there is a lot of it! For this reason at Exam Focus Ireland, we place most of our focus on continuous revision. But we aim to revise in a way that will help students remember what has been learned previously while expanding their knowledge into new content. We aim to cover each and every topic on the syllabus and ensure the students have no misconceptions, outlining all of the important parts of each topic and finding ways to remember them accordingly. The provisional schedule for Junior Certificate Maths is outlined below but may be subject to minor change.

 

Semester 1

Week 1: Cells, Food & Living Things

Week 2: Digestion & Enzymes

Week 3: Acids & Bases

Week 4: Energy

Week 5: The Circulatory System

Week 6: Atoms, Elements, Compounds, Mixtures & Solutions

Week 7: Mass, Density & Flotation

Week 8: Respiration, Breathing & Excretion

Week 9: The Periodic Table & States of Matter

Week 10: Speed, Velocity & Acceleration

Week 11: Human Reproduction

 

Semester 2

Week 1: Ionic & Covalent Bonding

Week 2: Moments & Centre of Gravity

Week 3: Skeletal, Muscualar & Nervous System

Week 4: Air, Water & Metals

Week 5: Light

Week 6: Genetics & Microbiolgy

Week 7: Heat & Temperature

Week 8: Ecology, Polution & Waste Management

Week 9: Pressure & Weight

Week 10: Photosyntheses

Week 11: Magnetism

Week 12: Sound

Week 13: Electronics & Electricity

Week 14: Plant Structure & Reproduction

 

 

 

Leaving Certificate Chemistry - Higher & Ordinary Level
Chemistry for Leaving Certificate has a very impressive success rate with 1 in 5 Higher Level Chemistry students obtaining an A grade, but ironically, it also has the highest fail rate (along with physics) with 18% of students consistantly failing each year. We do not want to advertise this statistic in an attempt to scare people into getting help but we believe it's important to ensure students know just how great the standard deviation of the results are. What the results basically say is that many students will immediately grasp the chemistry concept and take much of the course in their stride. However many students will need help in trying to form a level of understanding and their own mental image of what chemistry is and how exactly it works. Almost 100% of students will report that once they can succesfully gain an understanding or a concept image that makes sense to them, of the infinitesimally small molecular level at which most concepts are explained, they begin the road to success in the subject. Sadly though, many students never reach this level of understanding and that is where we come in. Just because you struggle initially with chemistry does not mean that you do not have a flair for the subject and certainly does not mean that you will not achieve a high grade in your Leaving Certificate. All it means is that you need somebody to take the time to explore with you, the fascinating phenomenons that chemistry has to offer, at your own pace. We are that somebody who looks forward to taking that journey with you. The provisional schedule for Leaving Certificate Chemistry is outlined below but may be subject to minor change.

 

Semester 1

Week 1: Atomic Structure & Periodic Table

Week 2: Bonding, Valency & Formulae

Week 3: Shapes of Molecules

Week 4: Moles & Stoichiometry

Week 5: Acids & Bases

Week 6: Redox Reactions

Week 7: Volumetric Analysis

Week 8: Rates of Reaction

Week 9: Molecular Equilibria

Week 10: Ionic Equilibria

Week 11: Electrochemistry

 

Semester 2

Week 1: Water (General)

Week 2: Water (Experiments)

Week 3: Organic Chemistry 1

Week 4: Organic Chemistry 2

Week 5: Organic Chemistry (Section A - Exam Experiments)

Week 6: Fuels

Week 7: Thermochemistry

Week 8: Industrial & Atmospheric Chemisrty

Week 9: Materials & Metal Extraction

Week 10: Titrations (Section A - Exam Experiments)

Week 11: Miscellaneous (Section A - Exam Experiments)

Week 12: Short Questions (Section B - Question 1)

Week 13: Intensive Recap & Revision Session

Week 14: Intensive Recap & Revision Session



 

 

Leaving Certificate Biology - Higher & Ordinary Level

Biology is statistically the most poular optional Science subject taken by Leaving Certificate students. The reason being - students feel that it is more relatable, less 'mathsy', and easier to understand. To an extent this is true, but the Biology course is very large indeed, and further to this it is intricately detailed and students are required to know and understand this complexity to a great extent. Achieving a high grade in Biology not only requires you to know the basics of each of the 16 sub-units on the syllabus, but Section 3 of the exam paper really tests a students deeper understanding of each of the units and how the units relate to and intertwine with eachother. At Exam Focus Ireland we aim to develop students' understanding of Biology as a concept as a whole. We explore each topic in detail individually but also carefully discuss how each of these units are relative to eachother - possibly one of the most important things about the syllabus. Our programme is very visual and we have devised many great teaching strategies to help memorisation of different systems, processes and structures. We guarantee that you will come out of each of our classes astounded on the amount of new information cemented in your cerebral cortex! The provisional schedule for Leaving Certificate Biology is outlined below but may be subject to minor change.

 

Semester 1

Week 1: The Scientific Method

Week 2: The Digestive System & Enzymes

Week 3: The Heart, Blood & Lymph

Week 4: Kingdom Monera & Protista

Week 5: Fungi & Virus'

Week 6: Photosynthesis

Week 7: The Cell

Week 8: The Breathing & Lymphatic System

Week 9: Respiration

Week 10: The Defense System

Week 11: Excretion

 

Semester 2

Week 1: Genetics 1

Week 2: Genetics 2

Week 3: Evolution & Ecology

Week 4: Plant Structure & Function

Week 5: Plant Reproduction

Week 6: Plant Transport, Seed Disperal & Germination

Week 7: Plant Responses & Growth Regulators

Week 8: The Musculoskeletal System

Week 9: The Nervous System

Week 10: The Endocrine System

Week 11: Human Reproduction

Week 12: Intensive Recap & Revision Session

Week 13: Intensive Recap & Revision Session

Week 14: Intensive Recap & Revision Session

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