Education

Thursday 21 August 2014

Difficult biology called for a bit of experimenting

Leaving Cert diarist Ellie Walsh
Leaving Cert diarist Ellie Walsh

My prophesies were proven correct. The curse of the Irish paper struck again. It was tricky.

Going into the exam we were in fairly good spirits as, no matter what they threw at us, the paper itself is only worth about a third of the overall grade. This of course is due to the new oral-orientated syllabus.

You could have easily predicted the two comprehensions. The first of which was on the death of Nelson Mandela and the latter on events of 2013. The questions themselves were straightforward but took up too much time leaving me just a little bit flustered going into the prose section. 'Dís' is arguably the least favoured story on the course but yes, you guessed it, it presented itself in the second question.

But they weren't going to let us off that easily. Just when we thought we were safe, the poetry section decided to get in a punch, with 'An Spailpín Fánach' being the order of the day. 'An Spailpín Fánach, if you haven't had the pleasure of formally meeting it, is a story about a wandering labourer of the 18th century who plans to fight the English because he's sick of straggling around the country. Forgive us if we find it difficult to relate to.

After our waltz with downtrodden farm workers, it was onto the final section. Maidhc Dainín Ó Sé's autobiography 'A Thig Ná Tit Orm' was our port of call and to be fair the question was reasonable.

After a quick lunch of sandwiches and revision books we were in again for the biology paper. For those of who don't marvel over the wonders of science, the paper was a bit of stinker. Section A was filled with confounding questions which made me question whether I'd got some kind of a joke paper. I made a conscious decision to learn the mind-boggling chapter on photosynthesis word for word a couple of months ago because it was always a dead cert to come up. But was there even a sniff of it on the paper? Of course not. Things did settle down a bit after that with the experiments section being pleasant enough. Section C however was no picnic but thanks to the good choice available, disaster was narrowly avoided.

Today we say bonjour to French, a relief for many of us after two papers of seanfhocals and fadas. After that hurdle is jumped, history is on the cards for some and then that's another day done and dusted.

Ellie Walsh is a pupil at Ard Scoil na nDéise, Dungarvan, Co Waterford

Irish Independent

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