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Leaving Cert French 2016 - What did last year’s exam teach us

June 1, 2017

Leaving Cert French 2016: What did last year’s exam teach us?

So, based on the leaving cert French 2016 exam paper, what should we expect in 2017?

In the immediate aftermath of last year’s exam, the French paper was described by experts as ‘not one that you can predict,’ thus we’re already a little daunted in penning this blog. However, we need to go back if we are to move forward, so let’s start with what we do know.

The 2016 exam was described as a very challenging paper that required students to read the questions carefully and target the angle of their answers with precision. While the reading comprehensions were approachable, the questions asked on both of them were difficult, requiring a lot of reformulation – i.e. students couldn’t lift their answers directly from the text if they hoped to access higher marks.

This means you need to practise completing more challenging comprehension pieces; orat least those with more challenging questions. If all else fails, start varying and reforming your answers during your revision (even if you don’t need to!) so that you can do the same on exam day.

In the Productive Writing Section, the question on the importance given to maths and scientific subjects versus foreign languages was challenging. Meanwhile, the second question, in which students were asked to write an email, was quite vague.

In Question 2, the diary was accessible, but the reappearance of the formal letter was a surprise: since 2007, emails have featured in this question, instead of the formal letter.

Could the formal letter appear here again? Are there any other unlikely yet possible options that could appear, and are you prepared for these?

Moving on, students would have been prepared for the first topic, family, in Question 3, while the second topic, the 1916 commemorations, was widely anticipated.

The presidential election, Brexit, terrorist attacks, and the ongoing migration crisis have all been staples of French current affairs this past year. Expect something on at least one of these – comprehensions almost certainly, and possibly a written task. Do you have the vocabulary to tackle these?

In Section 4, students needed to answer the questions on the topic about Ireland becoming a multi-cultural society with care. Obesity also featured as a topic and as students would have covered food for the oral, they should have found this question manageable.

What topics did you prepare for and cover during your oral? Could you build on these on exam day?

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