THE EXAMS (May 2011)

As a new treat today Katie has agreed to post her take on the Oct 09 cohorts Hibernia exams. Katie finished the exams last Friday just after noon and is currently enjoying her new found freedom, brought about by the lack of study. She, like the rest of her class worked hard and deserve this break from assignments, study and all the stresses that Hibernia brings into our lives. Thanks for posting Katie and CONGRATS again on the end of the exams!!

The Exams. Where to begin? Actually, they should probably be written like this, THE EXAMS, because THE FEAR of them is that huge! The scariest part is that 18 months of hard work (for most of us far longer than this, preparing for Hibernia interview etc) all boils down to 3 days. 9 hours in which we need to write everything we’ve learned. Except; it’s usually not everything that we know, because the questions always throw some curveballs.

This year was no different to any other of Hibernia exams. After a sleepless night on Tuesday of course, we began on Wednesday with Gaeilge. Now after the morning from hell, where traffic nearly prevented me from reaching the exams on time, walking into that huge exam hall was actually pretty calming. That is until I opened the paper of course. After skimming through the questions I began the most silent of freak outs. I’d decided to begin with Filíocht as I knew it the best; O’Direáin and O’Doirnín and a poem each were deeply embedded in my brain. However the question did not allow for this, for the first time in Gaeilge Hibernia exam history they asked for only one poet, O’Direáin and three, yes that’s THREE of his poems. The trouble with this question also, was that nearly everyone read it differently. The way it was phrased was very unclear and we are still waiting for some clarification on this. The rest of the paper was as expected, which was quite good!

Thursday we moved onto Teaching Foundations (after a really long sleep on Weds night – I was wrecked!!). This paper is hard to write about because everyone picks different topic. I risked it which I would not recommend. I did sacraments for religion (went really well), history of education (went really well), and finally sociology (a total complete and utter disaster). I was so lost with the sociology that I actually left the exam hall early. Something that I had really not intended to do at all but looking at the rubbish I had written was upsetting me. I left Croke Park and walked to the bus stop while on the phone to whoever I could reach telling them how unfair the sociology question was. It was amazing how much better I felt when everyone agreed with me!!! Several large cups of tea and bars of chocolate over my favourite Audrey Hepburn movie later I felt much better about the whole thing and ready to face into the next day.

Friday. A day I have always loved because of the association with Crunchie bars (yum!!); however Friday 6th May 2011 will always have a special meaning. The question on everyone’s lips that morning was “will PE come up?” The Oct 09 group were the first not to be given a PE assignment. PE had never come up on the teaching methodologies paper before. The signs all pointed towards it. Many of us risked it. And I’m very happy to say that it PAID OFF!!! I don’t remember much else about the paper except that I just kept writing and writing until my hand would not work anymore, lots of practical tp examples etc etc. The buzz of joy and excitement around the exam hall from about 12.25 onwards was amazing. The feeling of achievement at 12.30 was even better. There were people who could not stop smiling, they were people crying and lots of cheering and hugs!

From then on it was celebration time: An amazing lunch with my entire class, a lot of drinks, onto the pub and more drinks. Then I went home and slept. For 15 hours. A new record I think!

So what advice do I have? These exams are probably the most stressful time, maybe even worse than tp! For me, the key was all the help I had. Work with those in your class, I couldn’t have done this course without the closeness and help from my classmates. My family and my boyfriend were hugely invaluable; without their love and support I would have fallen off the horse long ago!

Wise words today? One last tip –keep reading Helen’s blog – I know it’s helped me this far and I can’t wait to read and see what comes next!

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