Testing times for Limerick students as thousands head for exam halls

Leaving Cert students at St Clement's College, who had their graduation ceremony recently, were among the 135,000 sitting state exams this morning.

THOUSANDS of Limerick students arrived at their schools this morning (Wednesday) to face the first paper in their Leaving and Junior Cert exams.

As the sun was beating down over the Treaty City in true exam time tradition on the run up to the big day, a break in the weather saw both Leaving and Junior Cert students take the first of their English exam papers.

For many Leaving Cert students, this was the first time they have physically sat down to do a State exam as their Junior Cert exams were cancelled in 2020 on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over 135,000 students across the country began their exams this morning, 63,500 of them sitting the Leaving Cert.

Education Minister Norma Foley wished students “the very, very best of luck” assuring potentially anxious exam students that “all will be well”.

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“I want to take the opportunity as Minister for Education to wish you well. It’s a great achievement to have reached this point in your education journey,” said Minister Foley.

“All will be well. You’ve done the study, believe in yourself. The very, very best of luck.”

Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy urged the people of Limerick to keep Treaty students sitting exams in their thoughts and prayers.

Bishop Leahy said it is undoubtedly an important day for students but it’s essential too that the exams are put into perspective as they do not define people’s lives.

“First and foremost, I wish the students well; that they manage to get the best out of themselves as they sit their exams, no matter what level they achieve.

“These exams are, of course, academically important at this stage of their lives, but there’s no one I know who would look back thirty years or so later and say that their life course was set just by their Leaving Cert weeks.

“Ultimately, I think students should pat themselves on the back today for getting to this moment, for putting the work in.”

ASTI President Elect Geraldine O’Brien also praised this year’s Leaving and Junior Cert students.

“Your teachers are so proud of you and are excited to see you move towards the next stage of your lives,” said Ms O’Brien.

The ASTI President Elect said this year’s Junior Cert students had a difficult transition from primary to second-level education in 2020, experiencing school closures at the end of primary school and further disruption as first years.

“The young people starting their exams demonstrated remarkable resilience and adaptability at a time of great uncertainty, something that will stand to them in their future lives,” said Ms O’Brien.

She added that students sitting the 2023 State exams will benefit from a trusted, independent exams process.

“Students can be assured of fairness, equity, and transparency – all issues which were brought to the fore during the pandemic,” she said.

“To all of our exam students I say, please ensure you keep things in perspective. These are just exams and regardless of the outcome, life will present you with many more opportunities in the years to come. Look after yourself, take rest, exercise, and maintain social connection in the weeks ahead.

“To everyone involved in this year’s Junior Cert and Leaving Cert exams – students and their parents, teachers, and the people engaged in exams work – I wish you every success over the coming weeks.”