Exam Time:
I found it so surreal to spend an entire Christmas break studying for a single subject and a single exam. My end of Semester One exam took place right after my Christmas holiday and only lasted a short two hours- I later discovered that most exams in the university only last two hours. In a way, this irritates me as I get flashbacks to the Leaving Cert exams, where my both of my English papers combined lasted for over six. I was relieved to discover that the paper itself treated me well, as I had prepared each topic I had to answer a question on. As most students pack into the library and cram final notes, I’m so relieved to say that my work is done for the semester!

Differences Between Secondary School And University Exams:

As someone who has only just completed their first ever semester of university, a question I had as I prepared for exams is how different will this be from secondary school? The answer is not by a massive amount- however college exams are more like state examinations than Christmas or class tests. I found that booklets to fill in answers had official seals on them and exam halls are filled with a dozen attendants, all in a very orderly fashion. I find it interesting how any offences during exams- like having your phone on, for example- now result in a fine, instead of a firm telling off from your teacher. Although college exams are stricter, they also have more order- no more sly whispering answers to the person sitting next to you when the supervisor isn’t looking.

Do Secondary Schools Prepare Students For College?:

I’ve often wondered about the impact secondary school has on university life. Does it prepare students for it? What disillusions does it give? Do we handle third level education better, because of the system secondary schools have in place? The debate of what influence secondary schools actually have on students starting off at college is an interesting one. As a school leaver, I think that secondary school doesn’t do the best job of preparing its students for third level education. Teachers often talk about independent study and how students struggle at university from the lack of an initiative, but I disagree. I find myself having as much of an initiative to study now as I did back in school. I think that although most of the learning at college is done outside of the lecture hall, without studying at home, secondary school is very difficult to get through.

And Now.. 3 Week Break!

As I only had a single exam, my inter-semester break will now resume and follow another three weeks of a holiday. I must say, the university life is suiting me well! I never thought that I would say it, but I actually like DCU’s system of having their exams after the holidays, as it gives students a chance to catch up on any work they may have missed and study. I can imagine this to only mean weeks of laborious study for those studying the sciences or maths, but I found that an hour or two of studying each day for a month sufficed, but of course, only time will tell!

Gabija Gataveckaite