Here’s hoping I get a juicy question on Nazi propaganda
ExamWatcher diary: Albert Wilkinson from Dunshaughlin Community College is seeking divine intervention at Tara
Albert Wilkinson: ‘I hoped, somewhat strangely, that the luck and magic of Tara might just rub off on me for Wednesday afternoon’s history exam.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
It’s been a little disheartening, this good weather. After two long days of study over the weekend, I logged on to Facebook and saw pictures of everyone who isn’t doing the Leaving Cert lying on the beach, or sitting in a field, looking very happy. Smug, even. Thank you very much, social media.
Last weekend, with the sun gods smiling on Ireland, I was drawn to Tara in Meath for a few hours each day. It was the seat of the ancient high kings in early Ireland, the centre of the world, a place imbued with magic, mystery, and learning.
Scholars have variously associated Tara with the Celtic Fianna hero Fionn, the fairies of Irish tradition, and the old pre-Christian deities.
Where better to take a break than this revered and beautiful site, which happens to be right on my doorstep?
There I met the maddening crowds. We poor Leaving Cert students were the big, frenzied news story last week, but for the throngs at Tara, the exams were largely forgotten.
I walked alone, seeking to clear my head and gather my thoughts. I wanted to forget about study and to enjoy the brief gift of sunshine. And I hoped, somewhat strangely, that the luck and magic of Tara might just rub off on me for Wednesday afternoon’s history exam.
What a syllabus. There’s so much to study for the history paper (sadly, nothing on Tara. I know all about Tara). I’ve prepared umpteen questions and I hope I’m ready for most topics.
That said, nothing would please me more than a big juicy question on German Nazi propaganda. I bide my time, and work, and hope.
It has gone reasonably well so far, and I haven’t been shocked or awed by any of the papers. Yesterday, however, was quite full-on, with Irish paper 1 and maths paper 2, both higher level, on the same day. I was pretty tired.
We’ve all paid particular attention to the maths paper because of the big hoo-hah around the new Project Maths syllabus. It’s supposed to be all about real world applications of maths.
I like the problem-solving element, but most of my classmates seem to think that the wording of the questions can be a bit roundabout and complicated.
It didn’t help that question 8 on the higher level paper gave us the wrong figures, so this made the calculations particularly tricky – but we only learned about it afterwards when we spoke to each other and as word started to filter back through both mainstream and social media.
And then there was Irish. Ah, Irish. Not my favourite subject. The essays that came up were very doable, which inspired my delight, and there were no weird or ridiculous questions. I was able to use an essay I had prepared on the topic of emigration. I’ve some distance to go. Applied maths is my last exam and it’s also scheduled for the last day of the Leaving Cert. Nine of us will finish together, leave school, and begin our lives as independent adults.
Well, that’s the hope.