Saturday 21 April 2018

Exam diary: Fast food, snow, Hitler -- and O'Leary in the grave

Peadar Lamhna is a student at St Macartan's College, Monaghan

HAVING brushed up on my French vocabulary and hoping something nice would come up on the paper, I entered the exam centre yesterday morning praying for a helping hand from Thierry Henry.

I was greeted by a reading comprehension on the new French driving test and then a piece from a novel about a woman fleeing from her parents-in-law.

Both were relatively easy to comprehend and then it was time to move on to the interesting part of the exam, the written expression. Emigration, fast food and writing a diary about cancelling your New Year's Eve celebrations because of snow, ice and fashion all made an appearance on the paper.

Great topics, I thought, and I began writing about why emigration was not the solution to our problems, my opinions on fast food and the prospect of spending New Year's Eve without my friends, and Ryan Tubridy, for company.

Next up was the dreaded listening exam, which passed off without a hitch, and hearing pieces on archaeology, faulty remote controls and tourists brought the memories of my own oral back where the topics ranged from describing applied maths (I can't even describe it in English) to visiting the oldest human remains in the world in Addis Ababa when I was there during transition year. As the French say, Ca y est. French is over and done with and not even a mention of Thierry Henry anywhere.

History was what most people in my class were dreading. After hoping for a miracle with regards the essay titles, I was lucky enough to have all that I wanted come up.

The Eucharistic Congress, Irish language and education policies, the Sunningdale Agreement and the impact of the moon landings on American domestic and foreign affairs all made an appearance.

The only major worry I had was whether to include the Jews in an essay on the main developments in church/state relations in Italy and Germany. I eventually decided to include them as it didn't specify what church they were looking for and this was added to my discussion on Hitler and Mussolini's relationship with the Catholic and Protestant Churches in their respective countries.

After two hours and 50 minutes of solid writing, and praying my hand wouldn't fall off, and using up two pens (apologies, corrector, for the sudden change from blue to black in the middle of my American essay), history joined comrade subjects in the storage box.

So history is with O'Leary in the grave and it's time to move on and, excuse the pun, forget the past.

This long week ends for me with biology today and then it's a break until Monday. So it's time to distinguish between monocots and dicots, asepsis and aseptate and hope that biology will prove there is life after the Leaving Cert.

Irish Independent

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