Few problems in a 'hard but fair' test
Published 23/06/2010 | 05:00
Despite the "challenging" comprehension question about a blog on renewable energies, the higher-level exam was described as a fair and "very good paper" overall.
Prescribed prose presented no problems and included a journalistic text about volunteers helping the old, with short comprehensions on noise pollution and choosing sunglasses.
Teacher Robbie Cronin, of the ASTI and Marian College, Ballsbridge, Dublin, said the written section also featured a dialogue dealing with the dying Spanish custom of the siesta.
He added that the formal letter, about bullfighting, was more student-friendly than most other years.
Candidates should have warmed to the diary entry task, about looking for a summer job, while the alternative task in that question was to write a note to a Spanish host family, saying that he or she would be out for the evening.
A teacher at the Institute of Education agreed that higher level was "very fair" with "one or two elements of the dialogue section presenting difficulty for some students".
Mr Cronin described the ordinary level paper as "very good", with an interesting selection of comprehension pieces ranging from a deaf-blind Ethiopian woman attending university in Spain, to an auction of Audrey Hepburn clothes.
However, he said: "There was one comprehension piece, about the dangers of cycling around Madrid which I felt was a bit too difficult for this level. The words "multa" (a fine) and "circulaba" (travelled) would have caused difficulty."
There were other teen-friendly topics -- a letter describing a summer job, making arrangements for going to the beach or the diary entry about the "disgusting smoking habit", he said.