Thursday 23 November 2017

Exam Diary: Strange feeling as we enter final straight. . .

Gavin Cooney

THE end is officially in sight.

The dwindling number of students, superintendents and attendants around the various schools is proof that we have entered the final straight.

Yesterday I appeared in the school corridors around half an hour before the accounting exam and the halls were deserted. The atmosphere was subdued and slightly strange, knowing that half of our friends were now at home basking in afterglow of a completed Leaving Cert.

Accounting was my second-last exam, and I find that it is a subject with a staggering ability to frustrate.

There is a vast amount of number crunching to be done, and it has to be done quickly because of the considerable time restraints.

Yesterday I made a new enemy in my calculator.

Relations were already not particularly good between us, as during my accounting mock the calculator decided to assume some bewildering setting that refused to recognise decimal points, meaning some of my answers were rounded down to zero. This played havoc with my answers, and my grade.

Yesterday, I was prepared, with two calculators in my pencil case in case of another electronic rebellion.

But the old adage "the more haste, the less speed" came into play as I raced against the clock punching numbers furiously.

The faster I went, the more often I hit the wrong button, meaning I had to start over.

Aside from that, I found the exam generally okay.

The people who devised the paper decided to throw a curveball with the appearance of a manufacturing account in Question 1, instead of the heavily predicted company account.

Upon seeing this, I pressed the panic button, and was fortunate to have the safety net of two other manageable questions to do instead.

The rest of the paper was fine, with the other questions showing little departure from the norm, which was pleasing.

Such was the elation of finishing the exam that when I logged on to Facebook I saw that a friend had uploaded a picture of the accounting paper on fire.

Physics was on yesterday morning. A friend once told me how to differentiate between the three science subjects: "If it moves, it's biology. If it smells, it's chemistry. If you can't understand it, it's physics."

I got the lowdown on the paper from a friend, Aislinn, who said it was difficult -- another exam not totally adhering to the structure of previous years.

It tested a deeper knowledge of the course, as students couldn't get away without answering a question on mechanics.

Now all that stands between me and freedom is chemistry.

The gloves are off ...

Gavin Cooney is a student at Mercy Secondary School, Ballymahon, Co Longford

Irish Independent

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