RELIEF: Relieved to have their first Leaving Cert exam over and done with on Wednesday afternoon were: Annie O’Donoghue, Miriam Fleming, Emma Griffin and Alanna Carroll from St Brigid’s Secondary School, Killarney. Photo: Michelle Crean
By Michelle Crean
Hundreds of Killarney students were amongst the 1,791 Leaving Cert and 1,953 Junior Cert students in Kerry, relieved to finally get startedwith their State exams on Wednesday.
It’s been a long year of study and nerves as the anxious students prepared themselves but it’s relief all round for most who were very happy with the first one, English Paper 1 on Wednesday morning.
The Killarney Advertiser caught up with many students straight after the first exam in St Brigid’s Secondary School, The Sem and Killarney Community College – with most saying they are relieved to finally get going.
Leaving Cert Higher Lever Paper 1 carried a total of 200 marks. It was divided into two sections with each carrying 100 marks.
Section one included comprehension with text one ‘What is Art For?’, text two ‘A Photographer’s Perspective’ and text three ‘Libraries: Cathedrals of Our Soul’.
In section two, students were asked to write one descriptive essay on a number of topics.
Many students from St Brigid’s Secondary came out of the exam smiling and said that they found the whole experience quite positive.
Kasia Kalka said that she was not really nervous as she was prepared for it.
“I did Higher Level and it was a manageable paper.”
Julianna Gherman sat the Higher Paper in English. “It’s not anything you can study for,” she said. “It’s comprehensions and essays. It was fine, I’m happy with it.”
Oliwia Arendarska added that she was nervous on the morning of her first exam, Higher Level English, but the nerves soon settled once she got stuck in. “I was nervous coming into it but it was a nice paper. I hope the rest go that well!”
Meghann Cronin said that she was a bit anxious heading into her exam as it was the first one, but was glad when it got started.
“The paper was grand, you can’t really prepare for it.”
Annie O’Donoghue, who also took High Level Paper 1, added that she wasn’t nervous. “I was glad to get it over with. It’s more the work you’ve done – you can’t really study for it.”
Alanna Carroll was also nervous and a bit tired before taking the higher paper.
“I think it was very topical,” she said. “I did the story part of it about a young and an old person travelling through a strange land. I also did the arts section about climate, the earth being uninhabitable and you had to flee it. I’m delighted to have it over with and not have to think about it anymore.”
Students from St Brendan’s ‘The Sem’ who took Higher Level English Paper 1, included Jake Doona from Lewis Road. “It was very open, it was very ‘you’ and allowed your own personality to come out.”
Sean Lennan from Kilcummin said he found it quite good. “The paper is really creative orientated and allowed a lot of opportunity for personality. That is my best subject and can only go downhill from here – Paper 2 will be a lot more about knowledge and study.” Oran O’Donoghue, Muckross added that he was also very happy with that paper because it can be finicky. Harry Knoblauch, Clonkeen said it was a very forgiving paper with a lot of room to manoeuvre in it. “I feel very happy now and it is not a bad start.”
In Killarney Community College Lee Heffernan from Park Road sat the Ordinary Level Paper 1. “It was stressful, timewise.” Niklodem Bauouzki from Ross Road sat the Higher Level English paper. “The paper was good, I was free to go with 20 minutes to spare so that is a good sign and that puts my confidence at ease. I will just relax and take it as it comes.” Junior Certs from St Brendan’s who sat their very first State exam included Michael Mullane. “It was grand, no real surprise.”
Jaden Tynan added that it was a good bit better than he thought. “I am feeling good now so it must have been grand.” Jack Kennealy said that he found it long. “It was very long, a lot of writing, but it is good to get it out of the way.”
Principals report positive feedback
By Sean Moriarty
Principals in three Killarney secondary schools reported positive feedback from students after Wednesday’s State exams began.
St Brigid’s Secondary School has 97 Leaving Cert students and 120 on the Junior Cycle.
School Principal, Roisin Moore, said the Leaving Cert paper was a positive start for all concerned.
“The English paper allowed plenty of scope and was very relatable to what is happening in the world around them,” she told the Killarney Advertiser this week.
“It certainly challenged their skills. The Junior Cert English was very fair, but a very intense two hours for the students, while the Home Economics paper was a testing paper at times, some of it was very challenging and they seemed pushed for time.”
St Brendan’s Principal, Sean Coffey, echoed these comments for the 135 Leaving Cert students and 144 who took on the Junior Cert exams.
“Feedback on both Ordinary and Higher Level papers was positive,” he said. “The social media theme was very relevant to their lives. The Higher Level paper was all about encouraging creativity and different kinds of divergent thought.
“I also thought the junior exams were an open and creative paper. Overall, it was a positive start and will allow students to settle in and carry on in a positive frame of mind.”
Leaving Certificate students no longer have to cope with the stress of two major subject exams in the one day, the opening English Paper 1 was followed by Home Economics on day one.
Killarney Community College also welcomed the new format where most students don’t sit two big exams each day, as was the case in the past.
“They really seemed happy enough with what came up so far,” Eilish O’Leary, Deputy Principal, said. “They are looking forward to ticking each exam off now as they come up. We would have a lot of students who had a Home Economics exam on Wednesday afternoon, but overall I think the way exams are spread out now are more beneficial to the students and they have more time to study in the afternoons.”
Junior Cert students did have a second level exam to take on opening day as the Civic, Social and Political Education exam was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
“The Junior Certs were a little nervous when they came in as it was their first time facing a State exam, but they seemed happy enough to turnaround and come back in the afternoon.”