Good weather? Hugely distracting international sporting event? European Referendum? It can mean only one thing. The Leaving Cert is around the corner. Back by popular demand – well no one said not to – is my list of essential tips for exam success.
Know the timetable. Ireland are playing on June 10th – before Irish and Maths Paper 2 on the Monday. This is not as bad as it sounds. Particularly in the case of Maths, if you are feeling blue because you can’t join in in the excitement, take comfort from the fact that you are not alone. Shay Given will also be expected to cover the angles on Sunday night. While watching the match, write a report of the match in Irish. Then regurgitate it the following day, regardless of the essay title with the phrase “a bit like Ireland versus Croatia” liberally sprinkled throughout. Learn off the names of all the players, especially the Croatians.
Have a good knowledge of past exam papers in order to spot trends. For example, “A diverzitás el?segíti-e a sikert?” came up last year in the Hungarian paper so it’s unlikely to come up again this year unless they totally shaft you. By the way, even from the most rudimentary glance using Google Translate, Hungarian looks like a fierce handy subject to do. Three hours to do one reading comprehension and one essay – it’s the new Economic History. Plus the Hungarians have had the IMF in as well so if you do learn the language, you’ll definitely have something in common.
The Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act will come up on the paper as it always does. In fact the paper used for the examinations comes from the mill with the question pre-printed on it. This is ironic because no one is buying anything any more.
If you have no study done, there is one last long shot – Just write on your paper: Hello Dear Mister, My name is Mrs Destiny Yekubu. I am the wife of the late Brigadier General Charles Yekubu, head of the Army in Liberia. He was sacked by most jealous opponents and now I need your gracious helps to access the money. If you can hurry, precious person, and send your bank account details and sorting code I will give you most grateful percentage…. If they swallow it, you may be able to blackmail whoever’s marking the paper.
English Paper 2 – Modern Literature.
Most examiners are bored silly during the correcting process. A plethora of half-arsed essays ending in the narrator waking up just as the lion attacked; the same analysis on the same poems and play “I think Hamlet is confused.” Why not change the game? In your comparative study, consider reading a highly explicit erotic novel as an extra option. Then recount the plot word for word in your answer. Spare no detail. Although, make some attempt to link it to the question.
Q3. The theme of love lost and found again is common in modern literature.
“When the mysterious Prince of the Desert arrives on horseback to where the lowly serving girl waits in her gossamer thin nightgown… a lot of these themes are explored, sometimes twice and from different angles”
It may jeopardise your result but for the rest of your life you will know you really moved someone with your writing.
In the section on European geography, despite what others – teachers, students, experts alike – are saying, Germany is coming up. Angela Merkel insisted upon it in a meeting with the Taoiseach. “When I say to Ireland, who’s your Daddy, I want them to really know” she is reported as saying.
This year, the German papers will be corrected by German government officials. To ensure good marks, write a letter to your pen-pal, ostensibly telling him or her about your favourite hobbies, but be sure to include a heartfelt apology for spending so much on clothes.
It is not a disaster to fail History. History repeats itself.
Finally the exam is not over just because the bell rings. There is the all-important post-mortem to be conducted. Not the pointless one with your friends, the other one. If you go to a posh school near RTE, there is a good chance the TV cameras will arrive after the English exam to get the “Tough But Fair” comment from your teacher and a couple of words from you. This could be your big media break. Rehearse your lines, don’t waste time chipping in with “basicallys”,“omigods” and nervous giggles while surrounded by your less savvy classmates. Ask for a one-to-one meeting in a well-lit room and give a funny, at times tender interview which if at all possibly should act as a rallying call for the country.
In the toughest of times over the next few weeks, where you worry about whether you did enough to get the CAO points, console yourself with one fact. During the 70 or so years in the rest of your life after you finish your Leaving Cert you will have at least one nightmare per month about it. Think about it – that’s nearly a thousand moments where you wake up and realise you never have to do it again. Those are happy points.