LC English Paper 2

Ailbhe (Higher Level English)

Surprised that I can still write- three essays, an answer book and extra paper later!

Delighted that I now have two whole subjects under the belt, the other five look much less formidable. Sure what are Maths and Irish when they’re at home?

Opened the paper. Flicked to poetry. Eliot Eliot Eliot Eliot.

William Butler Yeats, my old neighbour from up the road, don’t need to see you right now…

Rich, what are you doing here? I’m pretty sure you didn’t get a facebook invite to this event?

Kavanagh, can’t say I ever really felt your whole canal vibe

Ah there you are Eliot, I was just getting worried! Of course Murphy’s Law would have it that the poet I want would come up with the worst question on the page!

Can I just ask what happened to Boland? Hard luck to anyone who put all their eggs into one basket on that one!

So, confidence still intact, I leaf over to the Comparative Section. Literary Genre was not up late partying with Boland last night and made it to the exam centre. Thank God! Bit of a pesky little question: the use of the unexpected. To be honest, Billy Eliot was obviously going to end up with an invite to ballet school, Griet and Vermeer were never going to hook up and nothing really happened to conclude Dancing at Lughnasa so there weren’t too many twists and turns going on down that road! But alas I illustrated my surprise at the clever use of literary genre to incorporate the unexpected. I really learned about the use of hyperbole on that question!

Lear, my wizened withered old friend, I think I digressed to the highest degree on your ‘ loyalty and honour triumph over viciousness and brutality’ question. I more talked about good versus evil blahdeblah, might not get the aul PCLM working my way on that one!

And so with about half and hour left on the clock I rounded up and reassembled my thoughts. Unseen Poetry: The Seed by Paula Meehan. Nothing too complex going down, was actually quite a nice poem. Scrawled my points across the page. Dotted my i’s. Crossed my t’s. Voila I was finished! Yeehaw! Congratulations everyone!

Owen (Higher Level English)

Wow thank God that’s over! It feels good knowing that I have one full subject done and over with now and that I can stay away from English now for a long, long time… no need to write dreaded essays or analyse poetry…. it’s a good feeling!!

Well with English not starting till 2 o’clock today, I made great use of my lie-in and caught back up on the hours missed from the night before Paper 1 while also managing to get some last minute revision in beforehand just to have it fresh in my head. I have to say that the nerves were still floating about what with there being so much to learn and even more to write down!

Again got into the exam hall early and settled down before the paper was handed out, had a quick flick through…

‘Grand Vision and Viewpoint and Literary Genre sorted’

‘Poetry…where’s Boland?… phew Rich is here, thanks be to God!’

Made a good start on my Comparative Study and did the General Vision and Viewpoint question 2, I thought it was quite broad and didn’t have to focus too much on a certain aspect such as a character in question 1 so I was happy enough although at the start, I felt as though I was waffling and going off the point but when I got focused everything went fine and I thought that I had given a very satisfactory answer.

Then I moved on to the Single Text (King Lear for me) and to be honest I wasn’t a very happy camper with this one. Yes, both questions were nice enough but I, personally felt there wasn’t enough material to give it a good stab and show off what I had learned. I settled for the first part of the question on honour and courage and its triumph over brutality and viciousness. Gave it a good effort but struggled to relate the two to each other and I just felt as if I was waffling although I did write a substantial answer and felt I covered all aspects of the question. It was a struggle and without doubt my least favourite part of the paper.

Now on to the poetry and oh boy did Adrienne Rich get a serious analysing!! Completely enjoyed this part of the exam and saving it to last was a good idea, I was extremely happy with the answer I gave and confident in answering it giving plenty of quotes and covering all of the question… it proved to be a big success for me! 😀

Unseen poetry was a nice wind down for the last 20min of the exam and didn’t prove too difficult. I answered the 2 part question at 10 marks each and found it to be very approachable!

Overall, it was a nice enough paper with only one hurdle for myself with the King Lear but then again a challenge has to be expected somewhere along the way.

I was content enough but others from the centre weren’t too happy with Boland’s no show!

Others found the King Lear question to be a nasty one limiting them to display their knowledge of the play while others found the Comparative to also limit the full extent of their understanding of the modes.

Maths Paper 1 tomorrow and another day less until freedom, I’ll be having myself another little lie- in tomorrow anyway! 😀

ISSU Commentary (Higher Level English)

This year’s Leaving Cert Higher Level English Paper 2 was distributed not even so much as a minute early in exam centres nationwide this afternoon.

Students that had studied this year’s prescribed Shakespeare “King Lear” as their single text were faced with a choice between a statement about honour and loyalty triumphing over brutality and viciousness and a statement about the villainous characters holding more fascination for the audience than the virtuous ones in Section 1.

The comparative modes of General Vision and Viewpoint and Literary Genre appeared in Section 2 much to the relief of many students as the first of the two had been widely predicted to be examined this year. Both questions were quite straightforward but with the General Vision and Viewpoint question giving a choice between two more approachable questions, the majority of students will most likely have gone for that question.

“Seed” by Paula Meehan popped up as the unseen poem in Section 3 with perhaps some of the optimism of the theme of Paper 1 being reflected in the choice of this piece of poetry. Students were given the choice between two very manageable questions here before moving on to the question on prescribed poetry.

Disaster struck for many in Question B of Section 3, faces fell in exam centres across the country – “Where were Boland and Longely?” Bets had been placed on Boland appearing on the paper with groups such as “If Boland doesn’t come up tomorrow, there will be war!” appearing on Facebook yesterday. Many students had placed all their eggs in one basket, so to speak, and had only studied Boland in detail as one female poet is typically examined but much to their disappointment, Adrienne Rich appeared on the paper alongside Yeats, Kavanagh and T.S. Eliot. Some also had predicted that Longely would appear, as he was the only Poet on the 2009 “leaked” paper not to turn up on the second-paper. Predictions are risky business, and are more often wrong than right. Hopefully with a Yeats’ question on the tension between the real world and the world and which he lives, a question on Kavanagh’s success in achieving his desire to transform the ordinary world into something extraordinary and the poetry of T.S. Eliot’s presentation of troubled characters in a disturbing world alongside the question on Rich’s poetry, the majority of students will have been able to gather enough points together and recall enough quotes to have been able to make a good stab at one of the four questions.  However, the fact remains that an exam that relies on peak performance over a fixed 200 minute period isn’t a fair, adequate method of testing one’s ability or aptitude.

ISSU Commentary (Ordinary Level English)

Students around the country also sat Leaving Cert Ordinary Level English Paper 2 this afternoon. Some nice questions on the characters appeared on the paper for those that had studied King Lear as their single text with a choice between three options for the longer questions – candidates could opt to discuss whether King Lear is a story about love or foolishness or they could choose to discuss the character and conduct of Cordelia’s sisters based on her comment “Sisters! Sisters! Shame of ladies!” or they could have gone for the final option: to discuss which of the characters they would like to play in a school production of King Lear and why. Shakespeare students will have been largely happy with this question.

Section 2 saw students faced between discussing “Hero/Heroine/Villain” or “Theme” for their comparative study question – there was some very approachable questions under each with many students’ old friend, “key moment”, showing its face under the question on “Theme” so a lot of students will be delighted with that especially if they had an essay prepared in advance.

“Nettles” by Vernon Scannell appeared as the unseen poem in Section 3 but students will have been relieved here as the accompanying questions weren’t too much of a stinger!

Poems by Fleur Adcock, Paula Meehan, T.S. Eliot and W.B. Yeats were examined with some very manageable questions under the section on prescribed poetry meaning that Meehan, Eliot and Yeats appeared on both the Higher and Ordinary English Papers as Meehan was examined in the unseen poetry section of Higher Level Paper 1 and Eliot and Yeats popped up in the prescribed poetry section of both papers.

Overall, a very fair paper with no major surprises!

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