| 10.7°C Dublin

Leaving Cert Study Guide: Ordinary Level Irish

Leagan Amach na Marcanna (Organisation of Marks)

SCRÚDÚ CAINTE/Oral Exam — 150 marc (25pc)

Léitheoireacht/Reading — 30 marc (5pc)

Comhrá/Conversation — 120 marc (20pc)

PÁIPÉAR 1 —220 marc (36.6pc)

Ceapadóireacht/Composition — 120 marc

(20pc) Roghnaigh dhá cheann/Choose two (60 marc + 60 marc):

— Giota Leanúnach/Short Composition

— Scéal/Story

— Comhrá/Conversation

— Litir/Letter

Léamhthuiscint x 2/

Comprehension x 2 — 2 x 50 marc (16.6pc)

Cluastuiscint/Aural exam — 120 marc (20pc)

PÁIPÉAR 2 — 110 marc (18.4pc)

Prós/Prose 55 marc (9.2pc)

Filíocht/Poetry 55 marc (9.2pc)

Overall importance of the oral exam

It is worth a quarter of your overall grade, and can therefore alleviate the pressure of the written and aural exams.


Aim to build a varied vocabulary corresponding to every section of the exam (aural, comprehension, composition, prose, poetry) and consider ways of adapting this to the purpose of the oral.

There is no excuse not to know the following:

Layout of the Oral Exam

The reading extract 5pc of the overall Irish grade is attributed to the reading of a prose extract.

> Students must familiarise themselves with five pieces of prose, and on the day the examiner will select one of the five to be read aloud.

> You will be allowed a minute to read over the piece prior to reading it aloud.

> You are permitted to write (a minimal amount of ) marks on your sheets as reminders of words that are particularly difficult.

> Marks will be awarded for pronunciation and fluidity of speech. Monotonous, stunted reading will express a lack of practice.

Tips for the prose reading

> This should be a relatively easy part of the exam, given that you will be reading out a passage you (should) have read through countless times before.

> Practise reading aloud with a partner. Draw attention to each other's mistakes and offer the correct pronunciation. Record, and listen to, yourself reading. Note the tone, pronunciation and overall fluency of your reading.

AN CÓMHRÁ / The conversation

Basic marking scheme regarding An comhrá:

> Cumas/Ability: 35 marc

> Stór Gaeilge (overall broadness of your vocabulary): 85 marc

Roinnt topaicí úsáideacha / Some useful topics:

Students are expected to be able to clearly discuss and answer questions on a range of topics, including:

> Mo chlann/My family

> Mo cheantar/My area

> An scoil/School

> Mo chaitheamh aimsire/My pastimes

> Postanna páirt-aimseartha/Part-time jobs

> An samhradh seo chaite/Last summer

> An saol tar éis na hArdteiste/Life after the Leaving Cert.


The examiner will design his/her questions in a manner that assesses the student's ability to speak in the past, present and future tenses.

You may also be assessed in your ability to use the conditional tense (an modh coinníollach).

Two or three verbs would be sufficient at Ordinary Level.

Remember that some topics (eg Mo chlann) do not specifically relate to one tense.

However, the topic “An samhradh seo chaite” obviously refers to the past tense, while “An saol tar éis na hArdteiste” relates to the future tense.

How to begin your answers:

One of the most common difficulties that students have is beginning sentences.

Below are examples of some of the most common openings to questions, and appropriate responses.

> If a question begins with “Cad é..?” (“What is the..?”) begin your answer with “Is é…” and after repeating the body of the question, insert “ná” before providing your answer.

> If a question begins with “Cad iad..?” (“What are the..?”) begin your answer with “Is iad…” and after repeating the body of the question, insert “ná” before providing your answer.

> Sample Question:

“Cad é an t-ábhar scoile is fearr leat?”

> Sample Answer:

“Is é an t-ábhar scoile is fearr liom ná…”

Note that “leat” in the question must change to “liom” in the answer.

> Sample Question:

“Cad iad na caitheamh aimsire is fearr leat?”

> Sample Answer:

“Is iad na caitheamh aimsire is fearr liom ná…”

For questions beginning with forms of the verb “Bí”, you must recognise and copy the correct tense being used in the question.

> Sample Question:

“An raibh tú..?”

“Were you..?

> Sample Answer:

“Bhí mé…” / “Ní raibh mé…”

> Sample Question:

“An bhfuil tú..?”

“Are you..?

> Sample Answer:

“Tá mé…” / “Níl mé…”

“Táim…” / “Nílim…”

> Sample Question:

“An mbíonn tú..?”

“Do you be..?”

(Incorrect English, but correct Irish)

> Sample Answer:

“Bím…” / “Ní bhím…”

(“Bíonn mé” / “Ní bhíonn mé” do not express the same fluency as “Bím” / “Ní bhím…”)

> Sample Question:

“An mbeidh tú..?”

“Will you be..?

> Sample Answer:

“Beidh mé…” / “Ní bheidh mé…”

General Tips

> Aim to offer three sentences or more to each question.

> You cannot earn any marks for silences or for simple “Yes” and “No” answers. If necessary, steer the topic in another direction.

> The examiner isn't concerned with the truth of what you say,. He or she is solely concerned with your ability to speak the language with fluency.