Toil, tweets and tension - five little things about the Leaving Cert 2012
As Graham Norton’s mother advised her son: ‘You can only do your best. Do it.’
1 Most higher level English students wrote 10,000 words over the past two days
At 5.20pm yesterday, more than 34,000 students emerged from Leaving Cert higher-level English after three hours and 20 minutes in the exam hall. This follows Wednesday’s paper which ran for close to three hours.
Let’s stand back a moment.
Higher-level English students have spent more than six hours writing in the exam hall for just one subject. Most will write about 10,000 words – the equivalent of a novella.
Increasingly, this group of students are criticised for “learning off” essays or for rolling out a “prepared” essay for Paper 1. But have students have any real choice?
Could you write a personal, organic response to the poets and deliver an original essay in these pressurised conditions?
2 It’s a busy day for Jordan Coghlan
The 19-year-old is in South Africa where the 2012 Junior World Championship is being held. He helped Ireland to a shock victory over South Africa on Monday. England are next up for the Irish – today.
Only one problem – the match clashes with Leaving Cert maths.
The good people at the State Exams Commission are allowing Jordan to sit the exam 30 minutes before his classmates back home. He will leave a special exam hall at Stellenbosch University at 5pm Irish time – just before the 5.45pm kick off.
Yesterday a chilled Jordan tweeted: “Leaving cert and England tomorrow #buzzed.
3 Graham Norton and Dara O Briain are tweeting about the Leaving
On his recent return to Bandon Grammar School, Graham Walker, as he was then called, recounted how he would never forget the Leaving Cert advice given to him in 1981 by his mother, Rhoda. “She gave me a good luck card for my Leaving Cert.
It read: ‘Graham, you can only do your best. Do it’,” he said.
On Twitter, Norton has been dispensing similar advice to the Class of 2012 and wishing them well.
O Briain has also been having some home thoughts from abroad. Here’s an excerpt:
@daraobriain – I can offer this piece of advice for the Leaving Cert. It’s an even-numbered year. So Yeats is totes (totally) on the paper.
@amielouluv: Yeats isn’t on the course for this year .
@daraobriain - What?! Standards!! . . . According to my timeline lots of people hoping Plath comes up... One unfortunate wants “Platt”. #mightnotgowell
4 Gender stereotyping? The Leaving leads the way
Male and female roles may be changing across Irish society but there’s little sense in the Leaving Cert exams.
Of the 12,000-plus taking home economics, only 1,500 are male. Similarly, only 245 of the 5,000 taking engineering are female.
5 Relax. Leaving Cert exams don’t clash with any of Ireland’s Euro 2012 games
Where were you at 2.20pm on June 5th, 2002, when Robbie Keane scored that last-minute equaliser against Germany in the World Cup?
More than 50,000 students remember it well. They were writing about Heaney, Larkin and the rest in the Leaving Cert English exam when the silence of the exam hall was shattered by the roar of the distant crowd.
This year, there are no such worries.
All of Ireland’s group games kick off at 7.45pm. It’s not ideal for last-minute study – but it’s better than 2002.