Leaving cert memories we would prefer to forget

Once again that time of year is upon us. And while I’m glad I never have to go through those tedious two weeks again, I can’t help feeling a little nostalgic and slightly sympathetic for all the little duckies sitting state exams at the moment. It’s true while most of you are praying Sylvia Plath or some other elusive poet comes up on English Paper 2, the rest of us are praying for the glorious exam weather that we all had to suffer through. But don’t worry, you’ll have your time to be smug. That’s not to say elements of the leaving cert won’t haunt you forever. Seeing as the good weather hasn’t surfaced yet, I’ve decided to compile a list of things most of us would rather forget about the old LC..

1. Poetry


Oh the agony over those pesky poets. Do you take a chance and just learn the women? Sure you’d be grand then they always put a woman on it. Or should you just learn the recommended five? But that’s like a million poems…maybe you should just place all your bets on the predictions? Yeah Heaney hasn’t come up in five years.. Heaney it is so.

2. An Trial.

an trial

A story about a young girl banished by her family for having become impregnated by the local primary school teacher. The girl then pulls a Sylvia on it and sticks her head in the oven killing herself and her child. Oh and the best part? It’s all as gaeilge.

 3. Maths and all of the horror that came with it


I can’t be the only one who just drew what I thought the graph should look like sans actual figures…. still having Venn diagram statistical nightmares.

4. The Infamous Irish tape test


Léigh anois go cúramach ar do scrúdpháipeir  na treoireacha agus na ceisteanna a ghabhann le cuid Á.

How could we forget that musical beeeeeeeeeep and the soothing sounds of Áine agus Sinead telling us about their trip to see U2 An Seachtain Seo Caite.

5. Seeing the “do gooders” ask for more paper


What could they possibly be writing?! You’re struggling to fill up your little answer booklet as it is. Are they just purposely trying to freak everyone out? Maybe they’ve just ruined all of their previous paper with tears…

6. The dilemma over going to the toilet


Do you sacrifice the whole two minutes of writing time it’s going to take you? Or do you suffer on and risk wetting yourself out of panic? Then there’s the whole ordeal about the adjudicator having to write on your paper that you’re going to the toilet and  feeling like a hardened criminal by having someone escort you there and back.

7. When you think you have “one down” but really it’s only “half of one”


was there anything worse than coming out of an exam, feeling like you have one less to do, but then realising it was only the first part of ONE exam. The cruelty. You still have paper 2 before you can tick it off the list and be done with it forever.

8. The smell.


Yes there is an actual smell. Fear mixed with tears, panic, sweat  and the old school gym. Someone should bottle it really..

Au de Leaving Cert.

9. When the supervisor was given tea and sandwiches right under your nose

feed me

As if you weren’t going through enough during this grueling 3 hour exam. Your tummy is rumbling and then all of a sudden those smug TY Volunteers enter the exam hall with tea and sandwiches for the poor hard done by supervisor who’s getting 50 quid an hour. The audacity.

10. The panic before you turn over the paper


Are your gambles going to pay off? what if there’s a question you haven’t learned? Why are they taking so long to give out the rest of the papers? you need to know!

11. The dreaded exam post-mortem

“What did you put for part 3 section C, Question 1?”


If you learn anything from your leaving cert it’s that you should never ever partake in the post exam digest. Not only will you realise that Sally is a bitch because her answers were definitely better than yours, but you’ll drive yourself into a frenzy irrationally wondering if you answered all the short questions or if there was a section you forgot and so on. Just don’t do it kids. Ignorance is bliss. Until August at least.

12. The nightmares


The night before the exam dreaming that you’ve slept in and missed the entire thing. Even still months after it’s all over and done with youl’ll still be dreaming that you’ve lost your biology folder. Christ, even 4 years down the line I’m still having nightmares about the whole thing.

Despite all the stress, tears and panic the leaving cert is actually one of the best years of your schooling life. You’re all in the same boat, about to head your separate ways so the craic and solidarity during the final year is mighty. Even though it will all be over in a couple of weeks you’ll still remember everything about it. Years down the line you’ll be ushering the usual reassurances to your predecessors:

“Ah it’s not the be all and end all”  “There’s ways around everything”  “Sure no one will ever ask you about your points when you get to college”. In all seriousness best of luck to everyone doing the exams, may the odds be ever in your favour.