Exam Guide 1: Stationery
1. Stationery is of the utmost importance especially on the first morning (usually the English exam). You will definitely need something to chew on for the three hours you are locked away in solitude. Remember to bring a minimum of 7 blue pens for backup. A black pen in case blue is suddenly banned and 3 red pens in case you have to draw lines to demonstrate your knowledge of Shakespeare with graphs and bar charts. Also bring pencils with rubbers on top in case pens are banned. 4 colour pens are too fat to hold comfortably and are difficult to eat.
2. Power drinks are becoming quite common among students. Remember that Red Bull "gives you wings" not the sudden ability to solve the integration question on the honours maths paper. However the wings will come in handy while the supervisor turns his or her back. A quick flutter of the wings should raise you high enough above the head of the nearest geek for a quick sconce at his answer book.
3. Food. The best thing to bring to an exam would be a bag of chips. Although you would be hard pressed to find a chipper open in time for a 9.30am start you can save the treat for your afternoon exams. Toast is popular at morning exams. Mind you, don't forget a knife to butter your bread as trying to perform the task with a 30cm ruler can result in a messy answer book. The last thing you need is for the corrector to open your sticky answer book to find streaks of Dairygold running parallel to the margin of the page.
4. Cogs. Bringing cogs into exams is a fine art and can be practised at Cork airport. The ban on bringing guns and knives aboard aeroplanes is a result of the same piece of legislation as the banning of cogs in exams which happened in 1983 when supervisors got suspicious of Larry O'Sullivan's bulging pants and found a copy of King Lear after a thorough search. If you can get a gun on board a plane unnoticed then you'll have no problem getting cogs into an exam.
5. Toilet breaks. Timing your bladder to the contents of the exam paper is crucial. Save your toilet breaks for when you hit a stumbling block. It helps if you know one of the 5th years who is supposed to supervise your visit to the jax. It also helps if you are physically superior. They may have vital knowledge they can give you on a particular topic to help you get started. We would suggest making friends with all 5th years in your school immediately and brief them on a brown envelope reward scheme you intend to implement in exchange for tips-in-the-toilets. Violence is also an option.
6. Hands free kits are the job for exams but make sure your phone is on silent and the speaker volume is low. The last thing you need is to have one of the lads at the other end, heard by a supervisor, calling out lists of French verbs. Get the number of somebody who has internet access and they can post any questions you have during the exam on the message board. For example: "Which essay should I do? 'Globalisation and American Foreign Policy' or 'My Summer Holidays'.
7. That bloody song in your head! There will be music in your head from the start to the end of every exam. Always listen to music you like before you go into an exam. This will probably mean not listening to any commercial radio station for fear of hearing Mickey Joe Harte or Six getting some cheesy number stuck in your nut for the entire exam. That's the last thing you need as you search your head for the vocabulary to describe your intended future career as Cork's first astronaut in your Irish essay.
8. Cigarette papers. Bring these with you even if you don't smoke. Preferably ones with the Jamaican flag on them. The Department of Education likes to supply tables and chairs to schools which are not correctly balanced so you may find yourself sitting at a 45 degree angle with one of the legs of your chair over 3 inches off the ground. Cigarette papers are the job to provide stability for this faulty furniture. You may feel that a lot papers would be needed to do the job of some cardboard but think about how many Shakespeare quotes you could get onto 3000 rizlas.
9. Typex should be applied in moderation. Remember if you decide you're not happy with your essay after writing three pages simply ask for a new answer book. There's no need to produce an industrial size paint brush, a paint tray and use up eight bottles of the stuff painting over the three pages of writing you've just spent half the exam constructing.
10. The Clock. You'll need to keep yourself on your toes time wise for the exam. You'll find yourself spending too much time on questions you can do so you need a loud and accurate time piece. If a cuckoo clock is all you can get your hands on the morning of the exam then so be it. Your fellow students might sport fancy Swatch or Panasonic watches but style counts for little when you turn over the exam paper. Set the cuckoo to make an appearance every 30 minutes to keep you wide awake and on schedule.