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Leaving Cert funnies: tales of woe and cruelty from past exam answers

The summative exam for the Irish secondary school system, the Leaving Certificate Examination (commonly called the Leaving Cert) starts today.

As a tribute to those fine young men and women who – even as you read this post – are tentatively turning over those pink and blue papers, and wondering what exquisite tortures the words within possess, I thought I’d post a few contributions to Leaving Cert lore as produced by their predecessors.

Now read on…


Quotes from (real) leaving cert English essays [with some interesting takes on maths + science]:

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a tumble dryer

The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.

McMurphy fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a paper bag filled with vegetable soup.

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He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease

Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Ballina at 6:36 pm travelling at 55 mph, the other from Claremorris 4:19pm at a speed of 35 mph.

The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the full stop after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can.

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John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

The thunder was ominous sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.

Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long it had rusted shut.
Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

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The plan was simple, like my brother Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for while.

He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck either, but a real duck that was actually lame.Maybe from stepping on a landmine or something.

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Her artistic sense was exquisitely refined, like someone who can tell butter from the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” ad.

She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

It came down the stairs looking very much like something no-one had ever seen before.

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The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a lamppost.

The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free cashpoint.

It was a working class tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with their power tools.

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He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a dustcart reversing.

She was as easy as the Daily Star [newspaper] crossword.

She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature British beef.

Her voice had that tense, grating quality, like a first-generation thermal paper fax machine that needed a band tightened.

It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

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Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two other sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

…Good luck to all!