Monday 15 July 2019

Availing of perfect study weather students rise up to the challenge

Leaving certificate exams get under way in New Ross schools

David Looby

Leaving Cert is a time of year associated for time immemorial with scorching hot weather, but this year students have been greeted each day with more temperate temperatures to calm their fact-fevered brains.

At Good Counsel College Fergus Stafford was all smiles after his English Paper I. Having just exited the exam hall, he was happy with how it went and with having the experience of a similarly structured mocks exam paper under his belt. The Adamstown student said: 'It was what I expected; there weren't any big surprises. I did an essay on places and wrote about places that mean a lot to me, including Adamstown. I got everything done on time and some of what we did was covered in the mocks.'

James Whelan from Clongeen said he was feeling alright heading into the college that morning. Of his exam, he said: 'It was a nice paper; I'd say it will be marked harder as a result.'

Mullinavat man Tom Ryan was hoping his poetic descriptive essay would go down well with the teacher correcting his paper. Having overcome some nerves heading in to the exam hall, he said the paper 'wasn't too bad', adding that he enjoyed writing the essay. Chris O'Keeffe from Thomastown enjoyed writing a short story but, like many students across the country, was thrown for a loop by the comprehensive question that involved a question relating to texts they studied, which normally would exclusively be included in English Paper II. Ciarán English from Newbawn said the questions suited him. 'I did the speech. I am good at arguing so that persuasive style suited me. It was on the theme that we're a self-obsessed generation so I wrote about social media and how people are so selfish.'

At St Mary's school Aoife White said she was happy enough with how her paper went, especially the speech dissertation, adding that the comprehensive question was challenging.

Sonka Schreiberova was in flying form going in to the exam hall and said she was happy with her exam. Roisin Leahy from The Rower got over her nerves and settled once she got writing. Her essay took in everything from social media use to plastic surgery and global warming.

Kennedy College student Christian Burnett has been taking the exams in his stride.

Having gotten over some first-day jitters, he said the exams have thrown up nothing unexpected so far.

'The night before the exams I got into bed but got no sleep. It was 4 a.m. and I was still awake and I was just wanting the exam to be over, but when I opened the paper it wasn't as bad as I thought. Once you see what you have to do it's grand. Especially with English when it's all about your opinions and beliefs. It's about triggering your imagination and beliefs on certain topics.'

Christian picked the speech and argued against the theme that teenagers are selfish, making the point that teenagers are self-conscious instead due to social media and advertising stereotypes that, he said, are affecting teenagers' mental health.

Ramsgrange Community School student Mairead O'Brien from Ballycullane has a philosophical, relaxed attitude towards the exams, saying the work has been done and it's just about getting the words on the pages.

She said she has found some of the exams challenging, especially English Paper II, having found the first paper easier, along with Geography.

She said there is a great school spirit. 'We are all just helping each other.'

New Ross Standard