Local students off to good start
Over 57,000 students across the country started their Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied exams last week, beginning with the highly anticipated English paper one and followed by paper two the following afternoon.
In Wexford, 1,826 students are due to sit their Leaving Cert, 882 boys and 944 girls, while 156 students sit the Leaving Cert Applied exams, 59 girls and 97 boys.
The theme for English paper one in higher level was 'Feeding our imaginations', and students were asked to explore those topics during comprehension questions in the first section, followed by a choice of seven essays in section two.
'Our teacher predicted a lot of what came up so I was happy about that. The climate came up on paper one like we knew it would and also the snowflake generation because that's such a big thing now,' said Gorey Community School student, Saoirse Kirwan from Gorey.
'I'm a lot more confident now about my other exams, they weren't as hard as I expected so overall things went well, and study too. In English I wrote a lot more than I expected. Hopefully I've done enough as I want to work in social care, maybe starting off with children working in a crèche, we'll see what happens,' said Gorey Community School student, Eoin Quiggley.
Essay types that came up were a descriptive essay, discursive essays, a speech to be broadcast online, or a choice of two personal essays or two short stories.
'A lot came up about the environment and technology. There's a lot going on at the moment about pollution and how technology can improve things. For the first exam, it doesn't matter what it is, you're always going to be nervous about it, once you get that over with you're fine. In paper two, we got all the poets that were predicted, so we had choice there,' said Creagh College student, Kayla O'Rourke from Riverchapel, who hopes to study a PLC in tourism and event management.
'I'm much more calm now, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I liked that I could bring other subjects into English, so that was great,' said Gorey Community School student Laura Savage from, who plans to take a year out and study overseas later.
'There were more short stories this year, they were nice titles and easy enough. There was just one speech on the paper so there wasn't much choice there. If you did your school work during the year, I think you can do it as paper two is the harder one,' said Saoirse Kirwan, who hopes to go on to third level and study English and Politics in Maynooth university.
'The first exam has motivated me to study more for the other exams, English is a good introduction to get you started off. I really liked the story that I did, it was about two old people going on a journey in a strange land, which really suited me. The comprehension asked us about our Shakespearean text, we got to include that which is usually in paper two and incorporate it into our answer, it's fun to tie it in. The question asked you to relate the Shakespeare text to people living now, which was interesting because it was set back centuries ago,' said Gorey Community School student Grace Masterson from Oulart, who wants to go into teaching.
In paper two, the poets that came up this year were W.B Yeats, Brendan Kennelly, Elizabeth Bishop and Sylvia Plath, and students were also asked to discuss their Shakespearean texts, Macbeth for Gorey students, as well as the popular Margaret Atwood book turned TV series, The Handmaid's Tale, as part of the comparative essay question.
'I was happy that Sylvia Plath came up for English because that was predicted, the majority of us studied for that so we were happy. The rest of paper two was kind of unexpected, but paper one was fine, everything was prepared for that more than paper two. It's nice to get English out of the way, we're more comfortable now going on,' said Jamie Croke, Leaving Cert student at Creagh College who hopes to do an apprenticeship in maintenance engineering, or study electronic engineering or aerospace engineering.
'I liked the topics in paper one on the environment because that's something I'm interested in, but some of the Macbeth questions were worded strangely. In paper one, questions came up that would usually be in paper two, so that was a bit of a shock,' said Creagh College student Louise Whelan from Ballycanew, who hopes to study forensic science or nutrition at university.
'The comparative questions ended up being about your personal belief, so we kind of didn't know what to do as we just prepared for themes like relationships, not your own opinion. Macbeth was about the intensity of the play but poetry was better, I wrote three pages for that,' said Creagh College student Robbie Ballagh-Parkinson who hopes to be a sports coach in the Inter-League of Ireland.
Students were also asked to analyse an unseen poem by Carol Ann Duffy, which marked the 100 years since the anniversary of the end of World War I.
For reasons of candidate well being, the 2019 exam timetable has been extended beyond the traditional 13 day window, and exams will run until Tuesday, June 25.
'The new extended timetable has being designed to alleviate pressure on candidates by eliminating subject clashes as much as possible,' said a spokesperson of the State Examinations Commission.
The exams in the Leaving Certificate Applied programme finish on Thursday, June 13.
After a well deserved summer break, the results of the Leaving Certificate exams will be available both at the school at online from 10 a.m. on Tuesday, August 13.