Leaving Cert English Paper 1

Dylan – Higher Level

Wow what a day it has been. I woke up greeted by bundle of nerves and a knotted stomach. Today was the day. It was English Paper One!! As I sat down in the exam hall and received my answer book, I started filling everything in and had the page folded open and ready to start. I always jump to Section II first and start with the essay as I find it is the longest and it generally decides your overall grade in English. It has for me over the past six years! I looked at the titles once I received the paper and started to die inside. There’s always that sense of failure once you scan through the paper because the questions aren’t exactly as you prepared. Having calmed down I realised that the first option which was a speech titled ”We live in an un-heroic age” was an essay I could write on using the essay I wrote on in the mocks on celebrity culture. I pretty much made it fit anyways talking about how celebrities are considered heroes when they really aren’t etc. After finishing my four pages in a record breaking 50 minutes, I no longer felt pressured and started reading the three texts. The first one was horrible, the second one was ok and the third one wasn’t great either.

Having picked text two I started to write to realise it was a handy comprehension. It was an interview with short story writer William Trevor and his approach to writing etc. I finished all questions after one hour which was a bit too long but I was still on track. I looked at Question B then to find that the best one was on Text 2 but No! Dylan answered on Question A making it not possible to answer the Question B on Text 2. As I started complaining to myself I notice how the other two Question B’s were dreadful. An introduction for a book and a recommendation of a place in Ireland for tourists to visit. Neither appealed to me so I sat there for about ten minutes complaining how unfair it was. Time was sliding by and I still hadn’t started my Question B. 20 minutes remained on the clock and I did an eenie meainie on the two Question B’s. I was left with the recommendation and chose Thomond Park. As I started spluttering out all types of cheesy and cringey lines about Thomond Park and how it was a place where magic happened(Yes, I made it out to be like Disneyland). I really do turn into such a creep when I am writing, effects of the Leaving Cert violating my brain and almost leaving me mentally unstable.

As I came to page two of throwing cringey sentences down on the paper, the test had finished and the fun part had come. Oh boy did I like sealing the exam with the sticky bit and treasury tag. That is how exciting my life has been the past month. Can’t wait for English II tomorrow. If Plath, Mahon or Bishop don’t appear on the paper then I mightn’t be mentally available to blog tomorrow evening. If there isn’t a blog post then you’ll understand I hope! Until tomorrow!!!!

Jessica – Higher Level

As I flicked through the pink pages on English paper one I was delighted! None of the questions that I feared appeared but nothing I was rooting for did either! Where was the usual diary entry from question B?? I was quite shocked at the question A’s, they were a lot easier than any of the ones I looked through in panic yesterday evening!

The theme of the page was ‘story-telling’ – a very nice one in my opinion! Text 1 of the comprehension was an edited text based on an article ‘Tune in Next Week – The Curious Staying Power of the Cliff-hanger’ on my first glance at the title and images I thought it was about death I was awful confused upon reading it to find out it was actually about the cliff-hanger endings in tv programmes! This text was my chosen question B – unfortunately the question B’s were not good ones at all. The question was to write the text of a talk you would deliver in which you consider the role of tv and radio in the lives on young people today. It was terrible but I’m not sure rambling on about the development of technology was what they were looking for, I’m quite disappointed to say the least.

Text two was an interview with Irish writer, William Trevor, on The Art of Fiction, conducted for the Paris Review by Mira Stout. During the exam I only glanced over this one as I wasn’t overly keen on either question A or B and I’m not a fan of interviews!

I was delighted with text 3. It was the edited text of an article from the Irish Times by Belinda McKeon ”New York stories on a Perfect Platform’ celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the opening of New Yorks Grand Central Station! It’s was a really interesting article! This was my chosen question A, I feel it was definitely the easiest of the three. I was extremely happy with how it went, so much better than I expected! Although they weren’t horrific, I feel the long compositions were extremely specific. There was a speech, two personal essays, a descriptive essay (never seen that before?!), a feature article and a short story. Usually I would opt for the article, I love writing them but I wasn’t keen on it this year at all, it was to discuss the competing attractions of both urban and rural lifestyles, seeing as I’ve lived near the city for so long I don’t think i could have made a good argument for the attraction of rural lifestyle at all! I chose question 7, the short story which was about a reunion. Have to say again I definitely felt it was easiest and after giving the exam a post mortem afterwards with my friends, it was the most popular choice! My essay was loosely based on the idea of the popular show Homeland but of course putting my own twist on it.

It’s such a relief to have the first exam over with and I’m glad it wasn’t too horrific!

Jenny – Higher Level

As the examiner told us we could start, there was a rustle of paper as the pages were turned and the texts and composition titles were sought. We were like race horses out of their boxes, raring to go. I immediately looked at the titles and tried to settle down into the first exam which sat before me. I started with the Question A and chose text three as I preferred the Question B from the first text. I had been hoping a letter would come up but a talk on the importance of television and radio in young people’s lives didn’t seem too terrible.

All in all the paper wasn’t too bad which seemed to be the general consensus of my fellow students. The composition titles weren’t too bad and were quite broad and there seemed to be something for everyone. With paper 1 it’s hard to know how well you have done. I’m just grateful for the first test to be done and dusted so we can move on to paper 2 which should be interesting. I wonder if Plath will make an appearance this year…

Nathan – Ordinary Level

Paper 1 has to have been one of the best papers I’ve ever done. Obviously I was nervous walking in this morning first exam I didn’t know what to expect but boy was I wrong for being nervous. When I opened the paper I had a quick look through it and read through the comprehensions and decided what Q-A and what Q-B I was going to do.  I soon realised that Micheal McIntyre’s autobiography was the Q-3 this made my day as he is my favourite comedian and I have read his book 2-3 times so had a fairly good idea how to answer the questions.  The composition was even better. I’m usually fairly good at writing speeches so the Q-7 was the one for me. so far so good.  I’ll blog again tomorrow

Please note: blog posts reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union. Blogs are updated daily by 6.30 pm on scheduled examination dates.


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5 thoughts on “Leaving Cert English Paper 1

  1. Thanks Eamonn, it was a fair paper apart from the Question B. I hope Maths is just as fair and there aren’t any bizarre questions like last year!

  2. I completely agree with Jessica! The question B’s were not nice at all!! I also did text 3 as it was the easiest by far!! one down, 10 more to go 🙂 (plath better be up :P)

  3. I have to say I actually thoguht that the questions B on the first text was a really fair and easy question. Like Jessica I picked the text 3 and I found it tough but actually interesting. And Everyone is right to say that the compostions were horrible. I opted for the stury telling in music and I sat there for ages until my hand just started writting 🙂 ended up with longest essay I’d ever written in a paper 1. Enjoyed reading the blogs:)

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