Tuesday 20 March 2018

Exam Diary: These three weeks sap your adrenaline stocks

Blackrock College students celebrate after their Leaving Cert accounting exam
Blackrock College students celebrate after their Leaving Cert accounting exam

Yesterday, I sat my final physics exam. Like any subject involving numbers, I'm glad to be finished it. You should be glad, too. In fact, it's probably better for society as a whole. Essentially, if people like me were the physicists: we'd still be looking at black-and-white TV.

Since 2007, sitcoms like 'The Big Bang Theory' have made physics look easy. Did this affect my choice to study it? Probably. However, I soon learned the difficulty of the subject. 'Sheldon' and 'Raj' can lounge in their apartment working on physics whilst eating Chinese food. However, speaking from experience, I know that I could never multi-task like that. Studying physics this weekend had to take up all of my attention. Phones and WiFi off.

However, there is one huge perk to physics. Unlike most of my subjects so far, the paper is completely elective. There is not a single compulsory question. Thanks to this choice, candidates can even dismiss their least favourite topic from study and still be in with a shot of an A.

The use of the word 'I' and 'an A in physics' in a sentence is an unlikely combination, I just wanted to pass and get a C. For this reason, I did the bulk of my study on only two sections: nuclear and heat. Although it meant I had to forego being able to choose questions, I was still able to do all of the paper without leaving anything out.

Overall, I thought the paper was good. It covered quite a wide range of the curriculum. I finished with time to review answers. I even had enough time to play the game of estimating what grade I got!

Now, it's time to get ready for Spanish. Already I have made several preparations. As well as my excessive use of highlighter (or, as I like to call it, memory ink) I have set my phone, Facebook and Twitter into Spanish. Already I've learned the Spanish for 'retweet' and 'share'. I'll be sure to work this new vocabulary into my exam today.

I'm always thankful that my subjects are spaced out over the three weeks of exams. Even so, three weeks is a long time to spend working and studying around the clock. Any readers who are over 18 will know that the Leaving Cert saps your adrenaline stocks. I hope there will still be some left for when I go to one of those dodgy Irish funfairs over the summer.

Laura Gaynor is a student at Ursuline College, Sligo

Irish Independent

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