Leaving Cert Irish Predictions 2024 (Higher Level)
Updated November 2023
It is virtually impossible to correctly predict what questions and topics will come up on the Leaving Cert Irish Higher Level paper. We can, however, study past papers and identity a pattern in the style and type of questions that come up. You may also like: Leaving Cert Irish Guide (€).
General patterns of lc irish questions.
Cuid A Cuid B Cuid C Vocabulary for the aural comprehension An Ceapadóireacht Scéal Díospóireacht/ óráid
Léamhthuiscint Prós Filíocht Litríocht Bhreise
2023: what we predicted 2022: what we predicted 2021: what we predicted 2020: what we predicted 2019: what we predicted
You may also like: How much to write for each section of the Irish Leaving Cert Paper 1 and 2
Irish Leaving Cert Notes (€)
While it is impossible to be certain of what will be on the paper, here are topics to pay special attention to for 2024:
Paper 1: An Ceapadóireacht
- Foireigean agus coirúilacht
- An ghéarchéim tithíochta
- An timpeallacht
2024 Paper 2: Prós
An Gnáthrud (some people are convinced it won’t ever show up on the paper, but it is still there, so we cannot forget about it)
2024 Paper 2: Filíocht
An tEarrach Thiar
Structure of the Irish written exam: we have two papers, each on a different day.
Paper one consists of two sections – aural comprehension and the essay.
The aural comprehension is itself divided into three sections, ‘Cuid A’, ‘Cuid B’ and ‘Cuid C’.
In the first section of the aural comprehension, ‘Cuid A’, we hear two separate pieces about a certain announcement. These two pieces will be called ‘fógra a haon’ and ‘fógra a dó’, which means ‘announcement one’ and ‘announcement two’. You will be asked questions in Irish about each announcement. You hear each of these announcements twice.
The section part of the aural comprehension is called ‘Cuid B’. The speaker on the tape will say the words ‘Cuid B’ before this section starts.
In Cuid B you will hear two separate conversations, the first called ‘Comhrá a haon’ and the second called ‘Cómhrá a dó’.
Each comhrá is divided into two pieces or segments, the first segment is called ‘an chéad mhír’ and the second is called ‘an dara mír’.
You will hear each conversation twice. You will hear the conversation from start to finish the first time. The conversation will have a clear split between the first segment, ‘an chéad mhír’ and the second segment, ‘an dara mír’ the second time you hear it.
The third section of the aural comprehnsion is called ‘Cuid C’. In this section you will hear two news pieces. The first piece will be called ‘píosa a haon’ and the second will be called ‘píosa a dó.’ You will hear each piece twice.
Vocabulary for the aural comprehension
Cén t-ám? : What time
Cén locht?: What fault
Cé a ghlac páirt? : Who took part
Cén cháilíocht? : What qualification
Cén spriocdáta? : what’ the final date
An méid? : How many
Cén uimhir theileafóin? : What phone number
Luaigh rud amháin. : Mention on thing
Cén tuarastal? : What salary
Cár rugadh Áine? : Where was Áine born?
Cén duais? : What prize
Cén bhaint? : What connection
Ainmnigh : name
The next part of paper one is the written composition, called the ‘ceapadóireacht’.
You will have the option to choose between three types of composition.
These three types of compositions you can pick from will each have separate headings and will be called A, B and C.
‘Aiste nó nuachtáin irise’
The first type of composition you can choose is the essay or article. This will be under the heading ‘Aiste nó nuachtáin irise’.
For this section, you will be given a choice of five topics to write an essay on. The essay is the most popular type of composition done by students. Although we cannot predict what topics will come up for the essay, there is definitely particular topics that come up frequently and are worth preparing for. The topics can also be influenced by current affairs, so current topics in the news in the months leading up to the exams could appear as an essay topic.
(a) An costas maireachtála in Éirinn.
(b) Fadhb na ndrugaí sa lá atá inniu ann.
(c) Daoine cáiliúla i saol an lae inniu.
(d) An éagóir i saol an lae inniu.
(e) Na rudaí a chuireann isteach ar shláinte an duine.
(a) Sochaí na hÉireann sa lá atá inniu ann.
(b) An tionchar a bhíonn ag na meáin shóisialta ar dhaoine.
(c) Éire agus an tAontas Eorpach.
(d) Saol an duine óig in Éirinn – an bhfuil sé ag dul i bhfeabhas nó in olcas?
(e) Mo laochra.
a) Fadhbanna móra na linne
(b) Cearta Daonna.
(c) An tAthrú Aeráide.
(d) An Ghaeilge agus an cultúr Gaelach.
(e) Buntáistí agus míbhuntáistí na teicneolaíochta.
(a) An choiriúlacht i saol an lae inniu.
(b) Scéalta nuachta an lae inniu.
(c) Na cúiseanna móra imní atá ag daoine óga faoi láthair.
(d) An saol a bhíonn ag inimircigh in Éirinn.
(e) An teicneolaíocht i saol an lae inniu.
- Géarchéim na tithíochta in Éirinn faoi láithair
- Mná sa spórt sa lá atá inniu ann
- Athruithe chun fheabhais ar an saol in Éirinn le déanaí
- An taitneamh agus an brú a bhaineann le saol an scoláire dara leibhéal
- Tá an caidreamh polaitíochta idir tíortha an domahin míshuaimhneach sa lá atá inniu ann
Personally, I had a list of topics and out of this list I always had at least one essay that I could have done each year.
I would recommend starting with the following topics:
The education system
The health system
The Irish language
- Alcohol and drugs
Life of a young person
Violence, terrorism, war
I would try to incorporate a variety of seanfhocail into your essay, such as:
Níl tuile dá mhéad nach dtránn. (Every bad thing comes to an end)
Ní neart go cur le chéile (there’s strength in unity)
Tús maith, leath na hoibre (A good start is half the work).
Is maith an scéalaí an aimsir (time will tell)
Imíonn an tuirse ach fanann an tairbhe (the tiredness goes but the benefits stay)
Section B is the story or ‘Scéal’. Usually the examiner asks students to base a story on a certain emotion or seanfhocail.
Although writing a story based on an emotion may seem easier than an essay on current affiars, I would not advise students to attempt this question unless they have prepared well for it. In this question, the quality of your Irish is extremely important, marks are awarded for ‘saibhreas na Gaeilge’, which is the richness of your Irish.
Your story must have a beginning, middle and end.
Section C is the debate, ‘díospóireacht/ óráid’.
The topics for the debate are usually similar to the topics that come up for the essay, However it is essential that the we begin a debate with an introduction specific to a debate and finish with a conclusion specific to a debate. I recommend learning off a general introduction and conclusion of a debate.
The following is a good general introduction that can be tailored to a specific question.
‘A chathaoirligh, a mholtóirí, a chomhdhaltaí agus a lucht an fhreasúra. Is mise ____ agus tá áthas orm a rá go bhfuilim anseo chun labhairt libh in aghaidh/ ar son an rúin go mba chóir go _____. Beidh an fhoireann thall ag iarraidh a gcuid tuairimí a chur ina luí oraibh agus molaim daoibh an chluas bhodhar a thabhairt orthu. Ar aon nós tá mise in aghaidh/ ar son an rúin, ar chúiseanna áirithe agus cuirfidh mé roinnt de na cúiseanna sin ós bhur gcomhair láithreach’.
For the other option, it is also important to structure accordingly. When choosing this option, make sure not to make the simple mistake of structuring your answer as a debate. Instead, throw in a few sentences to show your engagement and understanding of the question.
For example, the 2014 question asked to give a talk to a group of German students who were visiting your school on the importance of Irish and Irish culture. A good way to show that you read and understood the question properly is to begin by welcoming the group of students to your school. The following would work well as an opening sentence to this question.
‘Fáilte romhaibh go léir anseo chuig ___ your school’s name ___. Tá súil agam go bhfuil sibh ag baint taitneamh as bhur turas go dtí seo. Inniú, ba mhaith liom caint libh beagáinín faoi thábhacht an Ghaeilge, agus an cultúr Gaelach anseo in Éirinn.’
(a) Scríobh an chaint a dhéanfá i ndíospóireacht scoile ar son an rúin seo a leanas nó ina aghaidh:
Tá an Ghaeilge beo beathach sa ré dhigiteach seo.
(b) Iarradh ort píosa cainte a dhéanamh ar chlár raidió ar an ábhar seo a leanas:
An dea-obair a dhéanann cumainn charthanachta.
(a) Scríobh an chaint a dhéanfá i ndíospóireacht scoile ar son an rúin seo a leanas nó ina aghaidh: Tugtar cothrom na Féinne do gach duine sa lá atá inniu ann.
(b) Iarradh ort píosa cainte a dhéanamh ar chlár raidió ar an ábhar seo a leanas: Mo thaithí ar an gcóras oideachais.
(a) Scríobh an chaint a dhéanfá i ndíospóireacht scoile ar son an rúin seo a leanas nó ina aghaidh: Tá r ialta s éifeachtach againn sa tír seo faoi láthair.
(b) Iarradh ort píosa cainte a dhéanamh ar chlár raidió ar an ábhar seo a leanas: Saol an duine óig in Éirinn sa lá atá inniu ann.
(a) Scríobh an chaint a dhéanfá i ndíospóireacht scoile ar son an rúin seo a leanas nó ina aghaidh: Déanann na polaiteoirí obair mhaith ar son na tíre seo.
(b) Iarradh ort píosa cainte a dhéanamh ar chlár raidió ar an ábhar seo a leanas: Na buntáistí a bhaineann le saoire a chaitheamh in Éirinn.
Paper two is divided into four sections.
The first part of paper two is the reading comprehension, ‘an léamhthuiscint’.
There will be two reading comprehensions, one called ‘A’ and the other ‘B’.
For the majority of the questions on this comprehension, you will be asked questions on the text and will be simply stating what the piece has said.
However, for question 6, you will be asked to reflect on an certain element of the comprehension and will have to give your opinion on it. For example, you might be asked on the style of writing or asked about the personality of the person portrayed in the text.
Common vocabulary that they use to ask questions on the text:
Cad a rinne sé: What did he do
Aidhm : aim
Luiagh slí amháin: mention one way
Cén fáth ar chosúil go … : Why does it appear that ….
Cad a tharla : What happened
Tabhair dhá phíosa eolais faoi..: give two pieces of information about
Cúis imní: cause for concern
Difríocht : difference
Cad ba chúis le …: what was the cause of…
Section 2 of paper two is the prós section. You will either have studied ‘prós ainmnithe’ or ‘prós roghnach’. The majority of students do the ‘prós ainmhithe’ question and so we will focus on that.
2023 – Oisín i dTír na nÓg agus Dís
2022 – Hurlamaboc agus Cáca Milis
2018 – Cáca Milis / An Lasair Choille
2017 – Hurlamaboc
2016 – Oisín i dTír na nÓg
2015 – Cáca Milis
2013 – Oisín i dTír na nÓg
2012 – Hurlamaboc
As ‘An Gnáthrud’ hasn’t been examined to date, it is likely to come up. However, ‘An Gnáthrud’ was equally likely to come up in 2016, 2017, and 2018 and it didn’t. Hence we cannot depend on predictions. [Some people have commented on the controversy surrounding the author as the reason why this hasn’t come up. Poems by authors in such situations have come up in the past. They are still on the syllabus, so I wouldn’t be complacent about this.]
Section 3 of paper two is the poetry section. Students answer either 3A or 3B. The majority of students answer 3A. If you are answering 3A, the poem is given to you on the paper.
2023 – Mo ghrá-sa agus An Spailpín Fánach
2022 – Colscaradh agus an tEarrach Thiar
2021 – Géibheann agus an Spailpín Fánach
2020 – Mo ghrá-sa
2019 – An tEarrach Thiar
2018 – An Spailpín Fánach
2017 – Géibheann
2016 – An tEarrach Thiar
2014- An Spailpín Fánach
2013- Mo ghrá-sa
2012- An tEarrach Thiar
The fourth section of paper two is additional literature, ‘litríocht bhreise’. Each student will have studied one of the prescribed pieces of literature depending on what their teacher has chosen for the class. Whatever literature you are doing, I would know key events, style of writing, character traits, relationships etc.
If your teacher is doing the ‘Filíocht Breise’, here is a breakdown of what has come up:
2019 – Colmáin
2018 – A Chlann
2017 – Éiceolaí
2016 – Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire
2015 – Colmáin
2014 – Fill Arís
2013 – Éiceolaí
2012 – A Chlann
2023: what we predicted
- The Irish health system – positives, negatives, how this impacts the people of Ireland, mental health
- The Irish language and the Gaeltacht – importance/state of language etc.
- The housing crisis
- The education system in Ireland – advantages, disadvantages, stress of young people
- Sport – benefits, drawbacks, sport in Irish society, women in sport, scandals in sport
- Climate change
- *NOTE* – an essay on young people comes up almost every year so it is a good idea to be able to slant any essay to how it effects young people e.g. how young people use the health system in Ireland, how the housing crisis impacts young people in Ireland etc.
2023 Paper 2: Prós
- Oisín i dTír na nÓg
- An Gnáthrud
2023 Paper 2: Filíocht
- An Spailpín Fánach
2022: what we predicted
- Inequality in Irish society – housing, education, jobs, poverty, alcohol, drugs, crime
- Political relations (in Ireland and abroad)
2022 Paper 2: Prós
*NOTE* there will be 2 stories on the paper with an option of 2 questions for each story. Candidates answer 1 question on 1 story.
- Cáca Milis/An Lasair Choille
2022 Paper 2: Filíocht
*NOTE* there will be 2 poems on the paper with an option of 2 questions for each poem. Candidates answer 1 question on 1 poem.
- An tEarrach Thiar
2021: what we predicted
- Technology – how it influences our lives/advantages/disadvantages/social media
- The health system in Ireland/mental health in Ireland/alcohol/drugs
- Political leaders in Ireland and around the world
- Homelessness in Ireland
- Inequality in our society – education, health, housing etc.
- Irish language – the current state of the Irish language, future directions, Irish culture
- *NOTE* an essay on young people comes up almost every year so it is a good idea to have a section on young people in all of your essays – e.g. how young people use technology, how young people are affected by politics, how young people use the health system in Ireland etc.
2021 Paper 2: Prós
2021 Paper 2: Filíocht
2020: what we predicted
- Immigration/refugee crisis
- Celebrities/social media
- The health system/ mental health in Ireland
- Young people – advantages/disadvantages of being young, facilities available for young people etc.
- *Note* An essay to do with young people is on the paper nearly every year so it is a good idea to have a piece in all of your essays about how this impacts young people eg. how celebrities influence young people, the importance of travel for young people etc.
2020 Paper 2: Prós
2020 Paper 2: Filíocht
- Mo Ghrá-sa
2020 Paper 2: Litríocht Bhreise
- Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire
2019: what we predicted
For your reference, this is what we predicted for 2019:
Homelessness and the housing crisis are another important topic to cover this year as it could be asked on its own relating to Ireland, or on a larger scale including topics such as refugees and immigration.
International relations and the role of Donald Trump
‘Mo ghrá-sa’, second is ‘Colscaradh’
Fill Arís’, then ‘Colmáin’
You may also like: Analysis of the 2019 exam .
- Post author: Martina
- Post published: December 20, 2020
- Post category: Irish / Predictions
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Irish - Higher
An important subject to pass at either level, Irish is needed to study at most Irish universities.
The syllabus has changed in recent years to place greater emphasis on spoken Irish so you should try and spend some time in the Gaeltacht if possible. It is worth practicing speaking Irish aloud as often as possible. You'll find some advice on preparing for your Oral on our blog .
Higher Level Course Content:
- AURAL - Comhrá (Conversation)
- AURAL - Phíosa Nuachta (News Pieces)
- AURALS - Fógra (Announcement)
- Poetry - An Spailpín Fánach
- Poetry - An tEarrach Thiar
- Poetry - Colscaradh
- Poetry - Géibheann
- Poetry - Mo Ghrá-sa
- Poetry, extra - A Chlann
- Poetry, extra - Caoineadh AUL
- Poetry, extra - Colmáin
- Poetry, extra - Eiceolai
- Poetry, extra - Fill Aris
- Prose - A thig Ná Tit Orm
- Prose - An Gnáthrud
- Prose - An Lasair Choille
- Prose - An Triail
- Prose - Cáca Milis
- Prose - Canary Wharf
- Prose - Dís
- Prose - Gafa
- Prose - Hurlamaboc
- Prose - Oisín i dTír na nÓg
- Prose - Tóraíocht Dhiarmada agus Ghráinne
- Reading Comprehension
- Sraith Pictiúr 2023
- Sraith Pictiúr 2024
- Studied Poetry (Filiocht Roghnach)
- Studied Prose (Pros Roghnach)
- Write a Debate..
- Write a News/Magazine Article..
- Write a Story..
- Write an Essay..
Ordinary Level Course Content:
- AURAL - Píosa Nuachta (News Pieces)
- Prose - Oisín i dTír na n-Óg
- Write a blog..
- Write a Conversation..
- Write a Letter/email...
- Write about a studied Folk Tale..
- Write about a studied poem (Roghnach)..
- Write about studied film/drama
- Write about Studied prose (roghnach)..
- Write an Essay...
Foundation Level Course Content:
- Fill in a Form..
- Match the pictures with text..
- Reading - A Brochure
- Reading - A Letter
- Reading - Extract
- Reading - Newspaper article
- Reading - Poem
- Write a letter..
- Write a Notice..
- Write from pictures..
Ardleibheal/Higher Level (i) Bealtriail (The Oral/ speaking exam) 240 marks - 40%
(ii) The Aural/listening exam. 60 marks - 10%
(iii) Two written papers. 300 marks - 50% Paper One - 100 marks
- An Chluastuiscint (listening exam).
- Composition Section with a choice of an essay, a story, a newspaper article or a debate/speech an Chluastuiscint (listening exam).
Paper Two - 200marks
- First, there are two reading comprehensions usually connected to cultural affairs, famous people, current affairs, etc.
- Then there are questions on compulsory prose and poetry. There are four stories and one film/drama on the prose course which are also on the ordinary level paper. There is a question on a theme or character or an aspect of the story or film.
- Students must answer a poetry question, Filíocht Ainmnithe or Filíocht Roghnach.
- Drama/Biography/Short Stories/Bealoideas. You are required to write about an Irish language drama that you've studied
Gnathleibheal/Ordinary Level (i) Bealtriail: The Oral exam is an important part of the exam. 240 marks - 40%
(ii) The Aural/listening exam. 60 marks - 10%
(iii) There are two written papers (50%) - Paper one is worth 100 marks and paper two is worth 200 marks Paper One – 100 marks
- An Chluastuiscint (listening exam)
- A Written Composition Section with a choice out of: a letter, conversation, story or paragraph. Usually, these options are topics that you will have studied for the Oral exam.
Paper Two - 200 marks
- Two reading comprehensions, one usually about a famous person and the other about something to do with young people, current affairs etc.
- Questions on compulsory prose and poetry. Students must answer two questions from sections 2A, 2B, 3A or 3B.
The main part of this course is Listening and Speaking. There is one written paper only and this is very similar to Junior Cert Ordinary level consisting mostly of reading comprehensions. There are no prescribed prose or poetry sections in this course. However, you may be asked questions about an unseen poem.
Future Careers with Leaving Certificate Irish
Irish is a requirement for entry into a number of third-level courses. Future careers include Teaching, Translation, working in Gaeltacht areas, Garda, Lawyer.
Download the Leaving Cert Irish Syllabus
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Download the Leaving Cert Irish Teachers Guidelines
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Students express mental health concerns due to Leaving Cert uncertainty
Students are left anxious as questions about State Exams are unanswered
Written by spunout
Information about the latest news and opportunities.
Young people in Ireland are currently staying at home from school, college and work, while they practice social distancing to help slow the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) . With uncertainty around employment, exams and housing young people have voiced their concerns , offered advice and shared messages of support to other people in similar situations around the country.
An issue repeatedly highlighted by our readers is the uncertainty surrounding the Junior and Leaving Cert State Examinations for 2020. With schools closed, and limited learning opportunities available to some students due to lack of wifi, hardware and teaching, students have been left feeling anxious about their futures while their calls for clarity have not yet been answered by the State, depsite the Taoiseach saying the Leaving Cert would happen ‘by hook or by crook’ at a press conference last week.
Students have shared with SpunOut.ie that the uncertainty around exams has led to lack of motivation, heightened anxiety and increased levels of stress. A survey of over 46,000 exam year students carried out by the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union (ISSU) has found that most Junior and Leaving Cert students want to see exams cancelled and predicted grades assigned to students by teachers due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Contributors to SpunOut.ie, as well as members of our Action Panels, from around the country have gotten in touch to share their experiences of this uncertainty on them, and in particular on their mental health.
We’ve gathered together some of their contributions below to get an insight into how the Leaving Cert class of 2020 are feeling right now.
- How the Leaving Cert confusion is affecting me
- How the Leaving Cert uncertainty is impacting my mental health
- Why we urgently need a decision on the Leaving Cert
- How COVID-19 is impacting students in school and college
- How I’m coping with exam worry during the coronavirus crisis
Are you a student meant to be sitting your Leaving Cert this summer? Share your experience with us and let us know how you are coping during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Action Panel Members’ views:
“As for people who are doing their Leaving Cert, I think that the departments need to take into account that not everyone has a suitable home environment that allows them to study. Unfortunately there are many young people out there who are dealing with extremely negative and heartbreaking circumstances where school was their safe space. It is unrealistic to expect these students to maintain good study routines and be given the time and space to concentrate”
“I’m doing my Leaving Cert at the moment and I’m honestly quite anxious.
I think the uncertainty of the situation is what’s worrying, as any uncertainty usually is, even though the minister has said they want exams to go ahead in June we still haven’t been given any definitive answers to our questions I feel.
Overall I think it’s very unfair to expect Leaving Cert students to be in a place to sit a set of exams in the coming months due to the massive changes we’ve seen in everyday life, on average it can take over two months before a behaviour becomes a routine so adjusting to school or work at home could take a long time, leaving little time to prepare for an exam!”
“As a 6th Year student, I feel really frustrated and stressed about the situation we’re in at the moment. I was beginning to struggle in school in the weeks leading up to the closures with getting work done and when we heard they’d be closing I knew it was bad news. I’ve found it incredibly difficult to work from home, I simply do not have the self-motivation currently.
Whereas before I at least learned in a supportive environment because I attended school, I am now not doing anything productive and have lost my motivation. The work is mostly new material and new concepts which are really tough to reach yourself. My school is not running online classes so we can only communicate with teachers via chat or email in teams. When orals and practicals were cancelled I assumed the department was going to draw up a similar plan for the written exams but I was wrong.
I’m just really really frustrated about the whole thing because I don’t want to see myself or others be penalised in terms of grades that we’ve worked on for 2 years. Everyone wants to do well and move on in life but if we refuse to break the traditional exam cycle even in the extraordinary circumstances we are facing, that is plain ignorance and disrespect towards the cohort of leaving cert students.”
“It’s appalling that every student is expected to study and continue as normal with all of this going on, especially considering multiple factors: some schools (like mine) aren’t doing online classes or getting videos and all we get is assigned work and photocopies that we have to make sense of ourselves. There are students with no access to wifi, students who have to take care of their siblings, students who struggle with their mental health, and some students in an abusive household who are all at a disadvantage to the average student.
I believe that predicted grades is the only fair way to go about this- along with cancelling the Junior Cert altogether. Predicted grades with an appeal system will take into account smaller class tests and term tests which can better reflect all of the students abilities.”
“I don’t think it is realistic to have the exams in June seeing as well, COVID-19 and also- the students have no help from the teachers but I don’t think predicted grades will work, in my opinion. But I agree that this has been an unbelievably stressful time for all Leaving Cert students and some of us might have or will get COVID-19 so we need to be as fair as we can.
The Department of Education needs to consult us though, which they aren’t doing. There definitely isn’t a perfect answer to this crisis in terms of the Leaving Cert exams but I do think that we need to choose the best one for all students who have worked hard, not just the easy option for the SEC (State Examination Commission).”
“I think that what most exam students want is just a quick and decisive answer, no matter what that is. This isn’t going to be a distant memory by June third and I think a final decision should be made as quickly as possible because students are under a huge huge huge amount of stress due to the uncertainty. There’s no perfect solution and not everyone will be happy at the end of the day but for many the uncertainty is the biggest stress factor.”
Ciaran Setshego Semahedi
“When they cancelled the orals people had already put a lot of time into studying for them and now we are looking at it and thinking what’s the point in putting in the work if they might end up just cancelling it, and as a result there is a huge struggle to get motivated to study. Going back to using predicted grades I feel it would be the fairest option, while I know that I myself will have to repeat if they do that at least I will sit the Leaving Cert in a time of normal Leaving Cert stress and not with all this added on top of it.”
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- Dec 20, 2022
Exploring the Themes and Language of Irish Poetry for the Leaving Cert
Updated: Sep 28, 2023
1. Introduction to Irish Poetry for the Leaving Cert
The Leaving Cert Irish exam includes a section on poetry, which requires students to demonstrate their understanding of the themes, language, and structure of Irish poetry. Irish poetry has a rich history and tradition, and it can be a rewarding and challenging part of the Leaving Cert exam . In this post, we'll explore some tips and strategies for studying and analyzing Irish poetry for the Leaving Cert.
2. Understand the Themes and Language of Irish Poetry
One of the key things to consider when studying Irish poetry for the Leaving Cert is the themes and language used by the poets. Many Irish poets explore themes such as love, loss, identity, and the Irish language and culture. By understanding the themes that are commonly explored in Irish poetry, you'll be better equipped to analyze and interpret the poems you encounter on the exam.
The language of Irish poetry is also important to consider. Many Irish poets use specific poetic devices and techniques, such as repetition, alliteration, and metaphor, to convey their themes and ideas. By understanding these techniques, you'll be able to more fully appreciate the nuances and depth of the poems you encounter.
3. Analyze the Structure and Form of Irish Poetry
In addition to understanding the themes and language of Irish poetry, it's also important to consider the structure and form of the poems. Irish poetry often follows specific structures and forms, such as the sonnet or the ode. By understanding these structures and forms, you'll be better able to analyze the poems and understand the choices made by the poets.
It's also helpful to consider the context in which the poems were written, as this can give you insight into the themes and language used by the poets. For example, understanding the political and social context of a particular poem can help you better understand its themes and language.
4. Practice with Past Papers and Utilize Online Resources
As with any exam, practicing with past papers is a key part of preparing for the Leaving Cert Irish poetry section. By working through past papers, you'll get a sense of the types of questions that are asked and how to approach them. You'll also get a feel for the time pressure, which can be helpful on exam day.
There are also many online resources available to help you study for the Leaving Cert Irish poetry section, including videos, interactive quizzes, and practice exams. Utilizing these resources can be a great way to supplement your traditional studying methods and help you better understand the material.
5. Seek Help When Needed
If you're struggling to understand a particular concept or are feeling overwhelmed, don't be afraid to seek help from your teacher or a tutor. It's better to ask for help early on than to fall behind and struggle to catch up.
The Leaving Cert Irish poetry section can be a challenging and rewarding part of the exam. By understanding the themes, language, and structure of Irish poetry, practicing with past papers, and utilizing online resources, you'll be well-prepared to succeed on the exam. Don't be afraid to seek help when needed, and remember to manage your stress and take care of your physical and mental health as you study.
7. Are you a leaving certificate student struggling with Irish?
Our Irish grinds service offers expert, personalized tutoring to help you achieve your goals. Our team of experienced and knowledgeable instructors will provide individualized support and guidance to ensure that you have the tools and knowledge you need to succeed in your exams.
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Leaving Cert: ‘It feels aimless. I don’t know what the story is’
Covid-19 multiplies uncertainties for sixth-year students and their parents.
Luke Casserly: “We are the ‘lucky’ ones, getting to be the guinea pigs.” Photograph: Shelley Corcoran
“The class of 2020”. Back in September, 2013, that opening caption on the presentation at the introductory evening for parents of first-year students provoked a shudder of wonderment about where we’d all be after their six-year journey through second-level education.
We hoped they would find plenty to spark their passion in the classroom, on the sports field, in other extra-curricular activities – and emerge as well-rounded young adults at the end, having made friends for life on the way.
But nobody could have even started to imagine where we were all going to arrive just three months short of their rite-of-passage that is the Leaving Cert. In these “unprecedented times”, one sub-group of the population which needs special consideration is the approximately 60,000 due to sit their final State exams this June. Not to mention their parents.
To be honest I had always scoffed at the notion of being a “Leaving Cert parent”, having observed the drama of some who you would swear were going to be sitting the papers themselves. However, since walking in those parents’ shoes and having found it impossible to be immune to the constant thrum of seasonal exam chatter, I am a little less judgmental.
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Leaving Cert parents: Forget about points and keep focus on daily tasks
Now of course Leaving Cert parents, of which I am one again, are in unchartered territory. Our offspring are home from school, trying both to avail of whatever distance learning can be offered and to revise, while huge uncertainty hangs over them.
In the best of times, sixth-year students have always had to cope with the anxiety of heading into the unknown. It’s natural for them to worry about how they will perform in the final State exams. Will their results be a passport to their preferred destination? What will life be like without school, when that’s all they’ve ever known?
The march of Covid-19 has multiplied those unknowns and imposed on these teenagers a suspension of normal life. So, what can parents do to help them through?
"It's not greatly different from parenting the class of 1978 or whatever – or into the future, 2040. There are basics," says the president of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland , Deirdre MacDonald.
Encourage them to follow their school timetable at home as much as possible. “Routine is very important for mental health and for good study.” While extra time in bed before the start of the school day is most teenagers’ preference, she doesn’t recommend it because “there are more distractions later in the day.
“I know you can’t turf them out of the bed but you can incentivise them,” she says, not ruling out financial bribes.
They need to find a quiet place in the house to study and to leave their phone somewhere else, except if they need it for their work. This requires self-discipline not to use the phone as the means of social engagement it usually is.
To students, she says: “Don’t be afraid to email teachers and share your concerns. They may be remote but they are not inaccessible.”
MacDonald, who teaches maths and social, personal and health education at the CBS secondary school in Wexford town, acknowledges that it is hard, in these circumstances, for Leaving Cert students to concentrate on study but says “that is part of life. I think there is great learning for everybody.
“I have always said you can’t teach resilience. You can give information re coping strategies, but you build resilience.” And this building of resilience “is happening now whether you like it or not. It will stand them in great stead going forward.”
Parents should remember that generally young people adapt to change better than we do, she says, and also "that they are all disadvantaged to the same extent". Remind your student son or daughter that the State Examination Commission always does its utmost to ensure the integrity and equality of the Leaving Cert.
At the time of writing, one uncertainty has been lifted with the news that all students have been awarded 100 per cent in the oral components of their language exams and in the music and home economics practicals – without them taking place. That might have been a cause of celebration for some but disappointment for others who feel they are at a disadvantage now they will only be tested through writing.
The Department of Education and Skills has a helpful Frequently Asked Questions guide about these decisions on its website .
While parents need to empathise with their son or daughter on their difficulties, help them keep a sense of proportion, MacDonald suggests, by reminding them of the greater losses that this pandemic is inflicting on others.
“Treat them as an adult,” she adds. And if that doesn’t work, point out to them that they haven’t responded to that approach so now you may have to revert to parent-child measures.
Leaving Cert students need to know that they are the main priority of the Department of Education, which is working with the schools to minimise the effect of the Covid-19 fallout on their education, says Paul Rolston, communications director with the National Parents' Council Post-Primary .
Disrupted Leaving Cert students: “All we can do is surround them with, hopefully, good sense and support and be reassuring as parents.”
“It’s a tough time in their lives,” he acknowledges, “as it’s a big step anyway. Everybody is very committed to try to keep that as normal as possible.”
Keep reiterating, he suggests, that “we are going to get through this and life will come back to normal. That exam is going to be there, whether it happens in June, July or August, it is still going to be there.
“In our experience it is nearly always the parents who panic, rather than the students,” he remarks. Teenagers need to be calmly encouraged to keep the head down and keep studying, but it is important to get fresh air and exercise – not to vegetate – while respecting the advice on social distancing.
“Most of the Leaving Cert students have the vast majority of the course covered and they are now into revision time anyway,” he says. “It is not as disastrous as it sounds.”
There is not a lot of parents can do beyond support and advice because we can’t make them study. “We have never been able to do that,” he points out. “All we can do is surround them with, hopefully, good sense and support and be reassuring as parents that everything is there for them.
“These are unprecedented times but the things we have to look at and address are not that different from what we have always had to do,” he adds. “It might just be over a slightly longer time scale, until we get to the far side of this thing.”
The president of the Irish Second Level Students Union , Ciara Fanning, says it has been looking for consultation and clarification over the State exams. It is very difficult for students who "are in isolation, trying figure out what is going on".
It is “such a difficult and confusing time” and the ISSU is hearing from some pupils who don’t have laptops at home to avail of whatever form of distance learning their schools are offering. But she also reports that people are dropping in spares to schools who can pass them on to those without.
The technological capabilities of schools and their staff also vary. As one student says: “A lot of teachers are older and clueless – my maths teacher didn’t have an email address until last week.” Then there is also the assumption that all students not only have broadband access but also know how to use the apps.
Having done her Leaving last year and now finishing her first year in Trinity College Dublin, Fanning says we are coming up to a time when some students would choose to stay at home and concentrate on revision, rather than attend classes. (Not that schools would normally recommend that.) However, “you usually take it for granted that you have the option [of school]”.
Right now, “whether or not you have great internet access, you won’t get the same level of education through your computer as you would in school and you won’t get the same kind of feedback from your teachers”.
There’s a gap on the wellbeing front too, she points out. “Teachers or guidance counsellors will notice if students are feeling really stressed and have a few words of reassurance. But it is really difficult now to expect parents to take on that role or for students to check in with themselves.
“It is a high-stakes situation getting into college normally, but now not knowing what is going on is hugely distracting for them as well.”
What’s her advice for parents?
“Try and put yourselves in their shoes. Most students are going to be really stressed and more irritable. Try to be there for them as best you can.”
Seek support for them if they are struggling with a particular subject. Some newly trained teachers are offering online grinds, she says, or there may be somebody in the neighbourhood who could help.
“The most important thing – and we would say this every year for the Leaving Cert – is just make sure your child knows that they are more than the points they get,” she stresses.
“It is really, really difficult to divide your self-worth from the grades you get on the page at the end, when you have been building up to this for two years. But this crisis has shown us more than ever how much we value our family and our friends over our grades in school and whatever kind of job we get.”
A fellow member of the ISSU executive, Luke Casserly, is in sixth year at St Mel’s College, Longford, and he says “our minds are in overdrive”. With all the speculation about whether the June exams will be postponed or cancelled and then what will happen with the CAO, “more clarity from the Department of Education would help”. But he appreciates that is a difficult thing to ask for right now.
“The Leaving is traditionally a slog that everyone has done and it hasn’t changed in years but now it has been disrupted and nobody knows what to think. And we are the ‘lucky’ ones, getting to be the guinea pigs.”
He is finding it very difficult to concentrate. “I am sitting at my desk here with my school journal, trying to do an English essay and it just feels kind of aimless because I don’t know what the story is.”
Casserly’s message to parents of students like him is: “Take it easy – pressure is a no-go right now. This year is the most stressful year of our lives as it is, never mind this added pressure. I know parents are very stressed out as well – having to work from home or some may have lost their jobs – but to acknowledge that already this is such a difficult time for us plus all this added stress.”
Read: Leaving Cert parents: Keep focus on daily tasks
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