Saturday 24 March 2018

Exam Diary: Paying customers finally get what we want

Laura Gaynor

The FIRST exam of the day was engineering. I don't do engineering so I didn't have to clock in until 2pm. To be completely honest, I didn't even know engineering was a subject!

I've always considered English paper 2 to be a memory test and spent most of my morning highlighting notes in five different colours. This seemed like a good idea at the time, but when I got to my desk, my head was in complete overdrive. (Be warned! Cramming is NOT the answer). It was the exam I was probably the most nervous about. But I realised there was further adversity to overcome than the three and a half hour exam.

In spite of the poor state of Ireland's construction industry, there was building work happening within earshot of my school. The windows of my prefab look the opposite direction so I'm not entirely sure what they were building. All I know is that it was very loud. Even so, there's no box to tick on the Leaving Cert for this. I had to continue with the exam.

In recent years, paper 2 has become more than just an exam. This is because as well as encompassing two plays, a novel and a film, there are also eight poets on the course. Students often take a gamble on which poet to study while others go by the wayside. Because of its vast poetry course, and the element of chance, this paper has over the years evolved into a cast of heroes and villains. These, of course, change every year.

Last year, for instance, Sylvia Plath's absence on the exam bereaved thousands of students who left their exam with heartbroken faces. This year, things have changed. Plath came up! The State Examinations Commission has finally given their paying customers what they want.

At 5.30pm, I left the hall in a state of rapture. At this stage I'm being practically lulled to sleep by Macbeth quotes and sending my poetry books to the second-hand shop is going to be a happy day to look forward to. More than anything else, there are two words I'm looking forward to never using in the same sentence ever again: Vivid Imagery.

Today, I'll be setting into the first half of maths, so I'll see what they have in store. For now I'm just going to pretend all that poetry was a bad dream.

*Laura Gaynor is a student at Ursuline College, Sligo

Irish Independent

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