Mathematics is a nightmare for most students. Not 16-year-old Adjaynae Billings.
The Ardenne High School student who just finished fifth form is proving to be a maths genius, having scored grade 1 in both CAPE and CSEC for pure mathematics which is usually sat in lower and upper sixth, respectively.
The advanced achievement isn’t his first. In third form, Billings scored grade 1 in Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) maths, usually done in fifth form; and last year, in fourth form, he secured a similar grade in CSEC additional maths.
In addition to the two units of Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) pure maths, he scored grade 1 in CSEC visual arts, physics, chemistry, French, principles of accounts, English language, and information technology, and grade 2 in technical drawing.
His mother, Nicole Dillon, was not surprised with the results.
“I was moderately calm because he has pretty much been focused and did well over the years. It was expected,” she told the Jamaica Observer.
When asked how he managed to balance the full load of fifth form courses in addition to the sixth-form courses, he admitted that it was hard.
“It was a difficult task to study for CSEC and CAPE at the same time, but I’m naturally a good maths student. I really had to do some good time management. I had to learn how to manage my time and how to avoid distractions. In the end, it all boiled down to time management.”
After mastering time management, Billings then focused on avoiding distractions. Which for him were Facebook and WhatsApp.
“I had to drop social media. That was one of my biggest distractions and it was really time-consuming. I deactivated from Facebook. For the first part of the year — September to December — I deleted WhatsApp during the week. So, I would uninstall it on Sunday evening and reinstall it on Friday. I would only talk to persons on the weekend,” the teenager reported.
“In January, I deleted WhatsApp; I didn’t use it any at all. So basically it was just me and e-mail,” he continued.
He worked round-the-clock, attending classes every day of the week, and some nights getting only two hours of sleep, or none at all. It meant missing some of his preferred activities, like church services, but he said he sought God in his own time.
Billings told Career & Education that part of his strategy for success was to keep reminding himself that after the exams he would have a long break to do anything he wanted to do.
He credited his maths teacher, Lorna Vernon, and his mother for their role in his success.
“I have a great math teacher, and I have to be grateful for my mother who made a lot of sacrifices and supported me in every way. She went beyond her duty as a mother just to ensure that I was successful,” Billings said.
He starts lower sixth form later this month to study CAPE applied mathematics units 1 and 2, along with French, economics, accounts and communications studies unit 1. After that he plans to matriculate at either the University of the West Indies, University of Waterloo, or the University of Toronto, to pursue an undergraduate degree in actuarial science, a field that will allow him to draw on his mathematical ability.