Saturday 17 February 2018

Exam Diary: It's finally over – I'm having a 10-hour nap and cup of tea

Laura Gaynor

OVER the course of my Leaving Cert year, I asked myself many questions. Questions such as, "can you buy the salmon of knowledge on the black market?" or "What did I do to deserve this?"

The answers to both were inconclusive. Now they no longer need answering as I had my final exam yesterday: music listening and composing.

Music started at 1.30pm. It necessitates a loud stereo system to play its CDs. While we waited for that, a game started. The rules were to articulate how unprepared you were for the exam. This is a game with no winners – although, it strangely made us all feel a lot better about the task at hand.

The main part of the listening paper was our studied works. Tchaikovsky took the stage as the main composer. In doing so, he posthumously alleviated a nationwide anxiety that the composer Gerald Barry might appear as our major question.

After paper one was our composing exam. Unlike music listening, it has very little scope for predictions. Essentially, it's all to do with you and your inner Mozart. The only downside is I can never be certain as to how I did since I can't test the music I wrote.

As the clock scraped 4.45pm, I finished 14 years of school. Confetti didn't fall from the ceiling, nor was there any fireworks. In fact, it was like finishing any other exam. That said – when I walked outside and joined the rest of my friends, there was a party atmosphere.

With music out of the way, the first thing I want to do is recuperate. This will take the form of a 10-hour sleep and some tea.

But before that, I have some unfinished business. I am throwing out all of my highlighters. Nothing will stop my ruthless conquest of these plastic vessels of neon ink. Despite their unyielding loyalty to me, I have no use for them now.

They will be made redundant by being fired into our blue bin. In years to come, they might be re-incarnated as more highlighters. Afterwards, it will be time for my next victim: photocopied sheets.

Right now, I am removing all traces of exams from my bedroom. Having pondered over the Leaving Certificate, I would give the entire package a four out of 10. I'd give my superintendent a 10 out of 10 and the exams a six out of 10.

Laura Gaynor was a student at Ursuline College, Sligo

Irish Independent

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