“Questions that I did. Section 1: E 1. Section 2: A 2. Section 3: A 1, B 3”
OH MY BISHOP! You are a beaut. I don’t say this too often, but I liked this paper. From the second I sat down in the hall to when I got handed that pink exam paper, I was feeling a funeral in my brain! I had this exam timed out, 55 mins for prescribed poetry, 1 hr 5 mins for comparative, 1 hr for King Lear and whatever left for unseen poetry (not important to be honest).
So from yesterday, you now know, I like highlighting. Today was no different. I got the paper and went straight to the back to prescribed poetry, Bishop and Dickinson, and I highlighted the hell out of them! They were the only poets I actually knew (I wouldn’t recommend only knowing 2, the stress ain’t worth it!). I answered Bishop and it went quite well!
Next one was comparative, Cultural Context! I actually like Cultural Context! I did the 30, 40 questions about if characters were successful or unsuccessful in the aspects of cultural context, or something like that… lets hope I compared and contrasted sufficiently enough!
Next was the single text and King Lear. Choosing the question on the tragic characters of Lear and Gloucester seemed favourable and I had done a question like that previously in class so I had some idea on what to say.
I did the unseen poetry next and only jotted a few points down for that, I genuinely am not bothered about that. And by jotted I mean scribble like mad! It’s only 20 marks at the end of the day, in comparison to the 50, 60 and 70 marks from the other questions.
For once I kept my timing on track and I’m happy, enough, can anyone really be too happy when English is concerned ?
Paper two was a dream come true!!! I couldn’t be happier! I began poetry and it was brilliant – I was so lucky I studied five poets so I had 3 options on the actual paper. I chose Bishop over Eliot and Dickinson because her poems are easier to write about and I enjoy her themes, the question itself was pretty straightforward. The unseen poetry was extremely interesting and I enjoyed depicting each question- I did the two ten markers. I then went onto the King Lear question and chose the redemptive and destructive power of love- this was easy to plan, but I found I fell short of ideas so I had to elaborate a lot. However compared to previous years, I believe that the Lear questions were lovely.
Then onto the comparative. We had only studied cultural context and general vision and viewpoint so I had no choice in the question. I chose the 70 mark question because I feel it is easier to focus on the three texts! Having only wrote 5 and a bit pages, I’m extremely happy and as they say quality over quantity!! I’m sure there are a lot of disappointed people because of the lack of Yeats this year, but cheer up!! There’s always other papers!
That was one odd unseen poem just as that was exhausting. 19 pages later, and I’m at last liberated from the oppressive regime that is the English syllabus. I had a pretty nice choice in this paper. And overall, it was a good experience.
Single Text wise I studied King Lear and found the “love” question to be a treat. I was expecting imagery but love was a pretty easy theme to deal with, I may have spent too much time on it though, at the expense of my other questions
The comparative was beautiful – Cultural Context I choose, though was happy to see Literary Genre pop up there. Having studied Pats, Foster and the KIng Speech the question on power was something of a dream. I was able to talk about the role of women, and people’s inner power to overcome their personal complications
Finally, poetry. I had studied nothing but Dickinson & Yeats from September to April, but recently decided id have to put my differences aside and get in on Bishop. I was so happy to see her come up today. Durcan, Elliot and herself were predicted and hats off to those tho who took the risk and only studied those three, to those who prayed on Yeats “being too obvious” so “he’ll be put on to put us off” – my sympathies.
Unseen poetry I don’t know – I’d almost consider scrapping it as a piece, personally I was exhausted by the time it came to tackling it and was fearful of sounding repetitive so in my worst hand writing possible I expressed what I thought paper is meant to express. Honestly what was that?
Anyhow, it was all pointless because I’m probably going to be back again next year repeating maths – which is tomorrow. Absolute yay. Best of Luck everyone!
In preparation for this exam, I visited the statue of WB Yeats in my local park and prayed to the poetry gods that he would come up on the paper, but like the rest of the country, I was sorely disappointed (and now my heart is sore). (I also prayed for Heaney to come up on the history paper so it’s not looking good for him either folks). Anyways, onto the actual exam. What a lovely lovely cultural context question! We had studied Citizen Kane, King Lear and Never Let Me Go so there was power and powerless go leor. I left it until the end (probably a mistake) and had only written 4 pages with 5 minutes to go, so I figured it wasn’t worth starting a new paragraph. Regretting spending so much time on the single text, I did the character question on Translations, that they are tragic but not heroic, which was all too easy to agree with. I focused mainly on Hugh, Manus and Owen but Yolland and Maire may have been the obvious choice. I struggled a bit with the unseen poem to be honest and chose The 2×10, simply because I feel it would be easier to get half marks in both. I read it completely at face value -about the legacy of literature etc- however I know some smart people connected it to art and transience and all that jazz. I was kinda happy that 3 out of the 6 poets I studied came up, (although I know some lucky suckers got 3 out of 3), after much humming and hawing, I settled on Bishop, which seemed the most straightforward, although I actually prefer Durcan and Dickinson.
Anyways, the main thing is I’ve survived Leaving Cert English and live to see another day!
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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