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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!