Tuesday, May 30, 2006


It is that time of year again when unfortunate kids the length
and breadth of the country are plunged into despair over the
prospects of taking their exams.The fact that these exams will
have a huge bearing on their careers and lives make them al-
most unbearably stressful.

It will probably come as a shock to most of you that I reached
Leaving Cert. standard many years ago,but we have all passed
a lot of water under the bridge since then.I have sometimes told
this story to a particularly forlorn student if the mood took me,
and because I'm in an uncharacteristically good mood this after-
noon,have decided to share it with you although I do not advoc-
ate the following of my example as not everyone can carry the
burden of guilt as easily as myself.

As generations of students before me and plenty after were told,
"Don't attempt to cheat,under any circumstance,or you will be
caught and you'll bring disgrace on yourself,your family and
the school,you'll never get away with it.Well I ploughed my way
through most of my exams in a mostly honest manner,all the time
being aware that the Supervisors,who were our soon to be ex-
teachers,had little or no interest in the proceedings and seemed
more intent on the perusal of the daily newspapers.

On the last day of the exams I decided to go for it and armed my-
self with all the notes,text-books and answer-books that might
prove useful and took my place with the rest of the students. I
suppose if this was a fable,I would say that I got caught cheating,
decided to mend my ways and become a better person, but I
didn't,which is how,much to the surprise of my teacher, I man-
aged to achieve Honours in Latin.

Quod erat demonstrandum.
(or whatever it should be.)


fatmammycat said...

Well played honey. Over rated exam, the living cert. Useful for college and that's about it.

the anti-barney said...

Yessn' yours truly was never,ever going to go to college anyway.God I hated every minute of school.

Binty McShae said...

I did cheat once... think I may have used this story as a comment elsewhere, so forgive me if you've heard it...

It wasn't a proper exam as such, it was a national maths contest. It was multiple choice, so to deter you from randomly guessing answers and possibly getting an undeserved good score you would get 3 points for a correct anwswer, no points for a question not attempted, but minus 1 point if you guessed and got it wrong.

Now, I was always pretty fucking sharpish with numbers and I answered two thirds of the questions in no time with no bother. The remainder I wasn't sure about, but I did have an inkling. Luckily for me I was sitting right next to the ultimate brainbox of the class, so I surreptitiously glanced over at his sheet to see if the answers he was putting in on the questions I was unsure about were what I thought they should be... and they weren't! "Thank God", thought I, as I began copying my classmates answers...

Of course, the bastard was having an off day and I got all the ones I copied from him wrong. So despite having got the two-thirds I answered 100% right my grade was brought down because of my cheating.

Oh, I know... I'm such a moral-of-the-story cliche!

Dr Maroon said...

Exams ! Ah the fresh smell of adrenaline. I love it.

On waiting to be let in to sit some once, all we student types were milling about making sheep sounds (to show our annoyance at our treatment) and singing, “always look on the bright side of life” etc. when I spotted a friend.
“All set?” I asked in my straight laced innocence
“Oh yes” said he, where upon he showed me his ruler, the palm of his hand and some masking tape stuck on his forearms, all of which were covered in tiny writing.
The flagrant non-cricket risk he was taking astounded me and the knowledge that I was now an accessory before the fact almost ruined my exam (applied heat and thermodynamics) but didn’t since I got the best mark, (I won an award actually) so it just shows you.

Foot Eater said...

I did superbly in Latin at school because I was scared shitless by my teacher, an unstable Irishman who looked like a cross between George Orwell and James Joyce and would roar and scream while he beat you with a length of bamboo. Died of a heart attack in his early fifties, apprently, bless him.

Brewski said...

Exams are fucking shit, I was always too chicken to cheat, bollocks to it.

Kim Ayres said...

I didn't cheat - to be honest, I don't think I cared enough.

None of my exams have made a scrap of difference. I left school at 16, and by the time I went back to education 7 years later, it turned out that because I was a mature student, I didn't need any of my O levels or CSEs to go to college and sit Highers.

OK, the Highers got me into University, but my degree didn't mean a bloody thing. I couldn't get a job with it. In the end I became self employed.

If you work for yourself, qualifications are completely unimportant.

School is just a place that teaches you to conform. I'd advise any kid that they will learn far more by bucking the system at any and every opportunity. Independent thought is far more valuable.

LindyK said...

I was the kid everyone wanted to cheat off of -- both smart and short, so it made for perfect from-your-own-desk-over-the-shoulder cheating. Killer combination, I guess.

Borunel said...

Don't get me started on exams and cheating.

I'll tell you where the real cheating is these days.

In coursework that's where.

Part of the joys of adulthood is surely in moving beyond school and knowing that the misery of exams is over. That you will never know the worry of potentially buggering up your entire life and five years of work in a two hour session again.

Children these days just don't get it, they get issued their coursework, get to work on it for six months getting it just right with all the possibilities of plagiarising and having friends and family helping them out and then sit a token exam at the end that makes no difference whatsoever.

Never mind them cheating, I feel cheated myself. I demand that they start chastising the little brats immediately with copious life and mind altering exams just like I was.

In fact, bring back the 11+ and make them sit it year after year with increasing difficulty levels until I feel better about myself.

After all it would be doing them a favour wouldn't it? They'll feel so much better when it all ends too!

Kim Ayres said...

Mind you, I always felt that if I'd learned Latin then I'd appreciate those Roman quips in the Asterix the Gaul books

fatmammycat said...

Oh Barney...you came and you wrote something special, but believe or not that was last week, now it's time for some new stuff, which we'll read and think it's funny.., Oh Barney...'
To the tune of Mandy, you knwo how Fridays are. X

Dr Maroon said...

I concur with FMC(no surprise there).
I wonder if he went off to the Derby with the gas money? He might not have been let out yet.

the anti-barney said...

Sorry for not getting back sooner and I should have expected you cunts wouldn't have needed to cheat although I'm surprised at Kim not caring about something he was doing.
Binty,serves you right.
Footsie,we must have had the same teacher.
Doc. and Lindy,what can I say except that its unlikely we would have been seated together at school.
Borunel,I agree completely and we'll bring back corporal punishment as well.
Kim again,while Latin didn't do me much good,it did me no harm either and I'm told I often quote Latin when the worst for wear.
Thank you Doc. and Fmc. for kind and encouraging words,without which
next post would not have been probable.xx

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