D-Day for Wexford exam students
Nerves and excitement were to be found in equal measure at the gates of Wexford's secondary schools last week as sixth year students filed in and out for the dreaded Leaving Cert exams.
Across the county, a total of 1.826 students, 944 male and 882 female, were expected to sit down to their test papers on Wednesday morning, kicking off with English Paper I, widely regarded as a nice one to ease them into full exam mode.
Up at St Peter's College, Padraig McGinley from Murrintown was feeling good about the first test, although as he's repeating his Leaving Cert this year, Padraig had a major task when it came to English and Irish.
'It went okay I think,' he said. 'I wasn't a big fan of the speech, but the comprehension was really nice. I'm a bit worried about Irish and English really. It's a totally different course this year, so I had to learn the whole thing from scratch. I'm feeling good about the first exam though.'
For Eoin Hartigan from Coolcotts, the nerves melted away when he put pen to paper.
'It wasn't as bad as I thought,' he said. 'Once I started writing it was fine. I'm not looking forward to Maths though, because with the two papers, there's a lot to learn.'
At the Loreto, there seemed to be more smiles than frowns emerging from the first exam. 'It was a really nice paper,' said Beth Powell. 'It's a nice start and I'm feeling a bit more at ease now.'
However, Sinead Rafter pointed out that paper one wasn't without its tricky moments. 'I knew they'd try to throw in some stuff from paper two onto paper one,' she smiled. 'There was a random question on Shakespeare thrown in there.'
Some of the Loreto girls, like Roisin Ferguson from Crossabeg and Leah Morrissey from Glynn, faced a long wait to finish their exams, with Japanese taking place on June 25.
'You'd need the couple of weeks extra to learn for it,' said Roisin. 'For today's paper, the timing element was the hardest part. There's a lot to get done and I think Geography will be the same.'
In the study hall at The Presentation, it was a case of one down, one to go for the day as some of the girls there prepared for their Home Economics exam.
'Some of the boys think "oh it's only cooking", but there's a lot more to it than that,' said Isabelle Fortune from Murrintown. 'It's a science in itself really.'
Similarly, Niamh Hayes from Rosslare Strand was keen to press on and get Home Economics out of the way.
'I can't wait to just get it done at this stage,' she said. 'That'll be a chunk of the exams done then. By the end of the day, we'll have one and a half subjects finished, which is more than most people.'
With most students hoping for Sylvia Plath to make an appearance on English Paper II, there was great relief at the CBS following the exam as she was on the paper.
'There was no major shocks today really,' said Ryan Hodge. 'The MacBeth question was quite nice and general. It went quite well. I'm not looking forward to history though. It can be hard to remember all those dates and things like that.'
Meanwhile, Paul Lohier from the Faythe said that English Paper II had been 'fairly predictable' and his concerns were reserved for the dreaded Maths Paper II.
Overall, the students seemed a confident bunch who were unphased by their first exams and hopefully this will continue.