Leaving Cert English – ‘The three texts and the essay were lovely’

Courtesy of the Irish Times –  (Thu, Jun 6, 2013)

Yesterday was nerve racking, but today will be tougher, agree students at Coláiste Einde in Galway.  


Sinead Scully, Pamela Chalecka, Ella Lillis Greally, Darren Kelly, Rory O’Connor and Jeffrey Lyons discussing their Leaving Certificate Honours English paper at Coláiste Einde in Salthill, Galway, yesterday. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

As the 101 Leaving Certificate students at Coláiste Einde in Galway City emerged from the examination halls they had to shield their eyes from the blazing sun. The relief was palpable: the first hurdle of Leaving Cert 2013 had been cleared.

The general consensus was that the introductory paper, English paper 1, was tough but fair. A nice way to ease into one of the toughest 10 days of their young lives.

With the exam nerves gradually increasing over the past few weeks, it came as a huge relief to students to finally get started.

However Rory O’Connor (17) from Oughterard was slightly more concerned about his penmanship afterwards.

“It was a good start. The only problem was near the end my handwriting started to deteriorate really badly,” he said. “I started getting sloppy. Hopefully the examiner will be able to read it. But it is really good to get one done, it’s a big relief,” said O’Connor.

Initial tension

According to his classmate, Ella Lillis Greally (17) from Moycullen, conquering the initial tension was yesterday’s biggest test. “I think it went okay. It was good to get the nerves out of the way. The initial hurdle is over, that was really good. There was nothing that made me think ‘Oh my God, I’ve never seen that before’,” said Ella.

Salthill native Darren Kelly (17) and Jeffrey Lyons (17) from the Tuam Road both agreed with the general consensus that it was a fair first paper.

“It went really well,” said Kelly. “There was no disaster at all. I expected to see something crazy asking us to compose seven short stories or something like that, but thankfully it was very fair. The nightmare is you sit down, open the paper and you don’t like what you see. But the three texts and the essay were lovely. English really wouldn’t be my forte, but it was definitely a good start,” said Lyons, who hopes to study science in Trinity College Dublin next year.

But for Pamela Chalecka (17) from Knocknacarra and Sinead Scully (17) from Moycullen, the real Leaving Cert starts today with English paper 2.

“Tomorrow is the dreaded one,” said Chalecka. “Hopefully it’ll fly now once the first one is over.

“This morning was nerve-wracking, but tomorrow will be tougher, we are all wondering what poetry will come up, what question will come up on Macbeth. We’ll just have to wait and see now,” Scully said.

Declan Rooney


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