The 11 things you hear in the days leading up to your Leaving Cert 4 years ago

The 11 things you hear in the days leading up to your Leaving Cert

You've definitely heard some of these before.

The Leaving Cert is a scary experience. For years after the exams, most Irish people still have the dreaded nightmare that they're walking into an exam unprepared, and there is no greater relief than waking up from that dream.


But it shouldn't be so daunting. At the end of the day, they're only exams. They don't define you. And as everyone learns as they get older - they're not THAT important. They matter, without a doubt, but if they don't go your way, it's not the end of the world.

Try telling that to someone in sixth year.

This is what your five or six years in school have been building up to. This is your Champions League Final. This is where you have to perform. It has consumed your life for months. It's all that gets discussed at the lunch table in the weeks leading up.

And, if you are doing your Leaving Cert next week, these are just some of the things that you have almost certainly heard of late...


"The actual exam is way easier than the mocks"

This is an interesting theory. It's almost definitely not true, but it does make a bit of sense. Chances are, you're better prepared in June than you were in February, so the logic isn't entirely flawed, but it's also more than likely a certain type of student's excuse for not studying. This advice has to be treated very carefully.

"I've only got five days of exams"

Fair play to you. Now get out of my face. Seriously, how was this fair? One lad would have all of his exams done by Friday, and would be out every single night celebrating afterwards.


Meanwhile, you've got economics the following Thursday. You'd think that this would mean that you'd spend that week absolutely ploughing through the economics course, but you really just spend your time wishing you had chosen construction so you'd be done by now.

"I know what's coming up"

This is a lie. It was always someone who claimed that their auntie was on the State Examinations Commission and that they had the inside scoop, but it was never true. They just wanted to cause a bit of chaos. A bit of carnage. It definitely wasn't claimed with good intentions anyway, that's for sure.


"Do we need a calculator?"

Yes. Obviously. You're walking into your Leaving Cert maths exam. You obviously need a calculator. Although, based on that question, a calculator might be wasted on you.

"I've done hardly any study"

Oh just shut up. Everybody knows you have. Nobody believes you. You just look ridiculous. Nobody thinks you're cool. We all see right through your lies. You're the worst.


"Apparently, if someone in the class dies we all get A1s"

Wow. This guy did not have his priorities straight. He was really thinking that this was a genuine possibility. This is what the Leaving Cert does to students. Terrifying...

"I will be leaving the exam the SECOND that I'm allowed"

There is a rule that you can't leave the exam until 30 minutes after it has started. It's a bit of a mad rule, as nobody could have possibly finished the exam in that amount of time.

But there is always one lunatic who stands by their word. The second half an hour has passed, they're gone. Not a bother to them, the headcase.

"I know a guy who cheated and got away with it"

NO. This was the worst advice you could ever receive. Not one bit worth it. Even if it sounded like a foolproof plan, it definitely wasn't.

Whether it was having the answers written on your leg, or bringing in some customised water bottle that had a full syllabus written on the label, there was always some "genius" who thought that they'd found a way to "cheat the system", but it never has worked and it never will.

"When are we going to use this, miss?"

Uhhhh. This guy. I mean, they're probably right, 99% of us won't ever need to recite W.B. Yeats' poem September 1913 for the rest of our lives, but you have to learn it anyway. They were the rules. It was always the same guy who would just be that bit too disgruntled, and raise his hand and deliver the infamous line: "When are we going to use this?"

"Right, so what is a C1 worth?"

This is one of the most common ones. You've studied for months. You know your poems, your formulas, your text. But somehow, you still haven't worked out what each grade equates to in CAO points. Even the day you get your results, you still struggle for a few minutes to add up the points.

They should really just have the points on the sheet, to be honest...

"I'm doing it. I'm not wearing my uniform."

This was a big deal for some reason. The principal would come around to each class and stress the importance of wearing your uniform when sitting the Leaving Cert. So many threats were made as well. "You'll fail if you don't", or "you won't be allowed sit the exam if you don't".

These were never true. And one rebel in your class would promise to go rogue and wear their own clothes. But come early June, you best believe they were wearing the uniform in the exam hall. Tie and all.