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Leaving Cert

Reeling in the Leaving Certs: 6 memorable moments from past exams

However much preparation goes in to the exams, the least likely things can happen…

ALMOST 60,000 students are sitting their first paper of this year’s Leaving Cert exams this morning, with student taking the English or English and Communication exams.

Despite all the preparation involved in the months leading up to the exams, sometimes the least likely things can happen on the day – and we’re not talking about exam content.

Here are six of the more memorable moments of recent state exams:

  1. In 2009, an exam supervisor in Co Louth accidentally gave out the second part of the English exam first. After realising the error, the papers were switched, but the Paper 2 exam was subsequently delayed. All of the students across the country who were sitting the English paper 2, both higher and ordinary levels, had to take the exam the following Saturday morning.
  2. Students of St Laurence’s College in Loughlinstown, Co Dublin, had to re-sit their Geography exam in 2001 after the first attempt was disrupted by a fire at the school lunchroom. RTÉ reported that initially the Department of Education had said that grades would be awarded in accordance with school results, rather than the Leaving Cert exam results. After objections from students and teachers, the department said the students could re-take the exam.
  3. In 2008, a student boasted on Boards.ie of having “cheated my ass off” during the Leaving Cert by filling a programmable calculator with information for the exams – despite the devices being banned from state exams. The Herald reported at the time that his boasting led to other forum users reporting him to the State Exams Commission and his school.
  4. Last year, a worried student posted a message on Boards.ie saying that the “majority of students” at their school were aware they could stash notes in their socks and pants then nip into the bathrooms during the exams for a quick spot of revision. They said that superintendents hadn’t been checking and that some students had even gotten away with checking information on their phones during the exams.
  5. In 2008, a bomb scare at St Mary’s College in Dundalk, Co Louth, meant that the school had to be evacuated. Principal Con McGinley told the Dundalk Democrat that the hoax fortunately came just before students sat down to their paper; the exams were only delayed by about 15 minutes.
  6. An exams supervisor was fired after he was caught sending a series of tweets via his mobile during the exams last year. He was actually only supervising one student, who was taking the exam under the Special Accommodation provisions. The use of mobile phones during exams, by supervisors and by students, is prohibited. The State Examinations Commission denied there was any threat to the security of the exam, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

Read: Hey smartypants! Here’s your chance to know something that the country’s 55,000 Leaving Cert students probably don’t >

Poll: What’s the worst thing to say to a Leaving Cert student during the exams? >