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Saturday 20 September 2014

Exam diary: Leaving Cert pupils of today are fully aware of the downsides of overworking

Laura Gaynor

Published 19/06/2013 | 05:00

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After physics, I sprung my unyielding study to its next victim: Spanish.

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Now, Spanish does not lend itself to rote learning in the same way Irish and English do.

Apart from memorising all-purpose sentences for my essay, I could only arm myself with grammar. I also "studied" in the form of watching Spanish versions of 'The Simpsons'.

Our main comprehension was about the problems of working around the clock.

Maybe it's just me, but I felt like this was some sort of ironic joke. On behalf of the Leaving Certs of 2013, I think we are already fully aware of the downsides to overworking.

The other three comprehensions were about technology in the classroom, cyclists and police-organised football games (I think). After the written exam came a 10-minute break before the aural exam. Overall, I thought the written exam was pretty good.

Demanding

However, I did find the aural exam difficult. Going by the standard of past papers (yes, I know, they are always wrong) I felt it was much more demanding than usual. The voice-over was fast, in confusing (and annoying) accents.

With the five minutes I had to review answers, I added highlighter to make my handwriting look legible, or at least to make me feel better about it.

Maybe sometime, I might use it in a shop on holidays. Apart from that, I don't know if I will get much use out of it. The problem is that whenever I meet Spanish people, they always have fantastic English.

They say it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings. Now, I don't know if this is true in the literal sense of the word, although I do have music as my last exam. Yes, it will have singing. Will it be a live performance from this lady? Of course not.

Instead, we have a stereo that will be blasting out all of our studied music. Along with the listening and composing, we also have an essay question. Personally, I really hope the harping tradition comes up. No, it's not because I love harping. It's only because I know that essay like a song.

Laura Gaynor is a student at Ursuline College , Sligo

Irish Independent

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