<< Tips & Advice

Recommendations for Students taking Leaving Cert English – Chief Examiner’s Report

  • Candidates need to ensure that they elect to take the examination at the level, Higher or Ordinary, to which they are best suited.
  • Greater attention should be paid to the knowledge and control of the formal aspects of language by students at all levels.
  • Adopting a process approach to writing, whereby students learn to research, plan, draft, re-draft and edit their writing (as laid out in the Leaving Certificate Syllabus, English, para. 3.4.1) would be of significant benefit to all students of Leaving Certificate English.
  • Students benefit from exposure to the written word. In preparation for the examination, candidates should read widely from a diverse selection of texts in a wide range of genre. Such reading would help students develop the necessary skills to shape their responses with greater control and confidence.
  • Candidates would benefit from a greater acquaintance with the concepts and terminology of visual literacy, including those associated with films.
  • Where candidates are required to write letters in answer to questions, greater attention should be paid to the inclusion of appropriate rubrics (e.g. return address, date, salutation and closing signature). Any standard formatting of these rubrics will be acceptable.
  • It is important to note that questions on Leaving Certificate English examination papers are framed to invite candidates to engage with them but not necessarily to agree, either wholly or in part, with the premise put forward in the questions. Teachers and candidates are advised that while it is essential that candidates fully engage with the terms of any question attempted, and where appropriate, support their answers with suitable reference to a text or texts,  challenging the terms of a question, perhaps disagreeing with some part or the entire premise outlined, is an acceptable way in which to approach an answer.
  • Opportunities to appreciate the power of language to move beyond the concrete to more expressive levels should be exploited.
  • It is important that teachers avail of all of the opportunities offered by the Leaving Certificate English course to develop students’ critical thinking skills and to enhance students’ skills in critical literacy. Students should be encouraged to assess the validity of assertions in texts, to challenge the ideas presented and form independent views.
  • Students at Ordinary Level would benefit from a greater acquaintance with the poems prescribed for study.
  • Students should be assisted to develop the skills needed to shape, manipulate and adapt their knowledge to produce measured, informed and reflective responses.
  • Students are reminded of the necessity of organising their time efficiently when sitting the examination. Omitting questions or parts of questions inevitably has a deleterious effect on outcomes.