The 2007 Leaving Cert has started and its pressure can do strange things to the young men and women forced to sit it....
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Children of the Leaving

Posted on Jun 6, 2007 in Danny Elbow


Children of the Leaving
Danny Elbow

The Leaving Cert starts this week and it's aura of pressure can do strange things to the young men and women forced to sit it....

Leaving certs in Coachford: hoping for a life outside farming

The Sweater
This student is under serious pressure to achieve. Medicine is at the top of his CAO form and boy does he intend to get it!

You'll know him by his sweaty demeanour outside the exam hall: frantically sipping a Red Bull and coffee cocktail, checking all fifteen pens for ink and putting the finishing touches his toilet break schedule.

You'll spot him in the exam hall when he calls for extra paper after just twelve minutes, giving every other student a minor heart attack with his frightening writing pace.

Such is the biblical amount of information imparted from his brain during each exam that a forklift is required to lift his exam scripts from his desk.

Furthermore his withered writing hand will need to be amputated half way through the exams and replaced with a four coloured pen. A small price to pay for success.

Finbarr: up the walls before the history paper

The Crammer
It sounds like a nightmare but its reality for some. Waking up to find you have to go to an exam is one thing. Opening your eyes to find you're actually in one is another and hardly the encouraging start one needs to the leaving cert.

The dull thud of a head coming to rest on a pencil case will tell you the exact location of your school's number one crammer in the exam hall.

Barely over an hour into the test and this kid will be firmly out for the count as her photographic memory finally runs out of battery.

Staying up 'til 5am the night before the exam, trying to learn a list of obscure human enzymes for the biology paper when she's had the last two years to do it, doesn't say a lot for her hopes to become a doctor.

Most likely to say"I know the exam is tomorrow and I haven't opened a book all year but I've got at least 24 hours of study to sort it out".

The Drama Queen
The water works start outside the exam as the arrival of the big day is too much to take and the tears begin to stream down her contorted face. She hasn't been this traumatised since the death of her pet hamster 'Sully' when she was seven.

St. Als girls realise they left out an entire section in the biology paper. Theres always pregnancy to fall back on.

She's already in bits before she even turns the exam paper, having forgotten her exam number, ruler and calculator.

And no matter what topics come up she'll be "devastated" and insist that nothing she studied appeared on the paper.

Sobbing and snivelling for the entire three hours, she hands her soggy paper to the supervisor and apologises for existing.

Outside she'll ramp up the water works again to maximise sympathetic hugs from her classmates before crumbling to the ground vomiting when she finds out that she didn't see the multiple choice questions on the back of the exam paper worth 2%.

Most likely to say:"I was so upset about forgetting my favourite pen that I just blanked for the three hours".

The Gambler
This is a student who is more interested in what's coming up in the exams than actually knowing anything about the subject. Both obsessed and tormented with predicting what each paper is due to produce, in his mind at least, there's never anything said by a teacher coming up to D-Day that isn't supposed to be a hint or a tip off.

If a teacher innocently mentions that the class should brush up on a particular topic, the gambler takes this as a subtle hint that the teacher has "heard something" from "a reliable source" in the Department of Education and assumes that the topic will definitely come up.

Sir, is this coming up on the Leaving?

He is glued to every radio talk show with exam tips and rereads every leaving cert newspaper supplement he can get his hands on, instead of spending time actually learning course material.

Most likely to say "I heard that the comprehension is definitely going to be about immigration problems in France. My friend's dad drinks with a guy setting the exam."

The Analyst
This is the one person every student should avoid after an exam.

In fact we recommend leaving the scene of an exam immediately after you have handed in your paper to avoid this clown who always insists on a detailed "what did you get" post mortem for every question. What's done is done and can't be changed after you hand in your script!

Although notorious for failing English in his junior cert he booms his authoritarian analysis outside every exam, especially Maths where he can frighten other students by shouting the "correct" answers out loudly so you go home fretting - thinking that you've failed.

Most likely to say "What do you mean you didn't get 3.45 metres for question 3c?! You're sssoo wrong!"


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