The final 18 days have arrived. In what seems like way too soon, Leaving Cert students across the country will sit down to English Paper 1. I can imagine we’re all feeling the pressure at the moment. Words of advice seem to ring in the mind…Let’s start by dispelling some common Leaving Cert myths to put your poor tortured mind at ease.
- “It determines the rest of your life!” This one is my personal favourite lie. No. It doesn’t determine the rest of your life. How could it? It’s an exam. Yes, it’s important, there’s no denying that. If people want to go on to college, it can give them a direct route, and if people want to start working, then the a good Leaving Cert will help them. But people who profess this blatant lie clearly haven’t a clue about the facts. If the exams don’t go to plan, there’s always PLC courses to fall back on, and if you want you can repeat the Leaving Cert.
- “If you fail Maths in your Leaving Cert you have no options. You have to repeat or you’re stuck, and won’t go anywhere.” This was a Leaving Cert myth I thought was true up until very recently, when I discovered that all of the NUI’s in Ireland actually admit students to most arts courses even with a fail in Maths, as the failure rate is so high, and why would you need Maths anyway if you want to study English Literature? There are ways and means to everything, look on the bright side!
- “A bad Leaving Cert will impair you for the rest of your life. An employer will look at your results and throw your CV in the bin.” Luckily, this particular myth isn’t particularly common anymore, mainly amongst the older generation who went to school in a time when the Leaving Cert was today’s equivalent to a Level 8 degree. But if anyone does try to tell you this, then they’re… well – wrong. Yes, totally wrong. Once you have a degree or indeed any kind of qualification, most employers won’t have any interest in your Leaving Cert results.
- “If you don’t do well in your Leaving Cert, you’ll end up in a dead end job.” I’m not even going to verify this one with a proper response. It’s far too ridiculous to even consider. If anyone tells you this you might consider giving them a slap and tell them to get a grip! (Disclaimer: I’m joking, I don’t encourage violence!
So on that note, everyone, keep up the hard work! Just think – in a month’s time or so the Leaving Cert will be over. You’ll be free to enjoy your summer. And look on the bright side – You’ve already got 40% of your Irish done from the oral, and all your projects from the year will contribute towards your grades. Don’t despair!