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Leaving Certificate: Higher Level German

Students of higher level German are examined in four areas: oral, aural, written and reading skills.

Students must prepare equally for every section, as all areas carry significant marks. The oral exam is taking place at the start of April and it is worth 25pc at honours level.

Marking Scheme

Oral Exam: 25pc General Conversation: 40 Marks; Picture Sequence or Project: 30 Marks; Role-play: 30 Marks.

Listening Comprehension: 20pc

Reading Comprehension: 30pc 2x reading comprehension: 2 x 60 marks.

Written Production: 25pc

Angewandte Grammatik: 25 marks; Äußerung zum Thema: 25 marks; Schriftliche Produktion: 50 marks.

All aspects of the course rely on the student having a reasonable command of grammar. Below is a selection of rules to be followed.

Important rules

1. Word order. Remember the verb is always the second element in a sentence. Look at the examples: Ich arbeite im Supermarkt; Am Wochenende, arbeite ich im Supermarkt.

2. Always capitalise nouns.

3.Words which do not change word order: Und – And, Aber – But, Sondern - But/Rather, Denn - Because, Oder – Or TIP: Use “denn” instead of “weil” in the oral exam as you will not have to remember to put the verb to the end. Eg. Ich möchte Englisch in der Universität studieren, denn ich lese gern.

4.Words which send the verb to the end: Als – When, Als ob – As if, Bevor – Before, Bis – Until, Da – Since, Damit – In order that, Daß – That, Seit – Since, Wenn – If, Während – While/During, Weil – Because Eg. Als ich jünger war, habe ich oft mit Freunden gestritten.

5. Make sure you know all the main irregular verbs in all tenses. Here is a list of important verbs to know: Haben – to have, Sein – to be, Gehen – to go, Werden – to become, Wissen – to know (knowledge), Können – to be able to, Mögen – to like, Dürfen – to be allowed, Müssen – to have to, Wollen – to want, Sollen – to be supposed to, Nehmen – to take, Treffen – to meet, Geben – to give, Helfen – to help

The written section is very important at higher and ordinary level. At higher level the student must complete three written tasks: Angewandte Grammatik: This tests the students knowledge of grammar.

Äußerung zum Thema: Students are asked to comment on a theme arising out of one of the reading comprehensions. The piece should be approximately 100 words.

Schriftliche Produktion: This is the long written question and the student is required to write 160 words. Two choices are given, a letter or a reaction to a cartoon or graphic.

Marks are divided equally between content and expression.

Suggested topics to prepare:

Die Wirtschaft – the economy

Die Rezession – the recession

Die Naturkatastrophen – natural disasters

Das Internet/Facebook

Die Politik – politics

Die Auswanderung – emigration

Try to improve the quality of your writing by including nice words and expressions. Certain words and phrases can be revised before the exam and these can help to give order and structure to the written piece.

Erstens – Firstly, Am anfang – To start with, Nicht nur … sondern auch – not only, but also, Natürlich – Naturally, In Bezug auf – With regard to, Bekanntlich – As everyone knows, In allem – All in all, Schon die Tatsache, daß – It’s a fact that, Deshalb/Deswegen - Therefore, Folglich – Consequently, Endlich – In conclusion, Zum Abschluss – In conclusion

Here are some guidelines and tips that are suitable for all levels.

Top 5 tips

1 Never reply to a question with a simple “ja” or “nein”.

2 Smile throughout the exam.

3 Preparation is crucial. Pair up with a school friend and practise.

4 Work on the role-plays.

5 Try to take control of the exam, especially in responding to the general questions about yourself. The same questions are asked every year, so pay attention to areas such as Wohnort, Schule, Berufspläne, Hobbys and Aufenthalt in Deutschland.

The examiner is there to help you, not hinder you. Eye contact is essential.

Common mistakes to avoid

Verb is always in second place. Am Freitag, bin ich ins Kino gegangen. The second verb in a sentence goes to the end. In the future projection of the picture story, make sure you follow this rule. Eg. Der Mann wird beim Hausmeister sich beschweren. Make sure to include all points in the role-play. Omission of any point will lose marks. Keep the card in front of you in the exam with the outline of points. Use the German section of the role-play to remind you of words and expressions. Never start the picture story with “Im Bild ein”. Use link words and phrases to tell the story in a structured way.

Useful words

Später – Later

Plötzlich – Suddenly

Um vier Uhr Später am Abend – Later in the evening

During the General Conversation, the student is questioned on topics relating to his/her life. Students can prepare very well for this section. Viel Glück.