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Leaving Cert: Students will be ‘relatively pleased’ with English paper one

admin | June 8, 2022

The first exams in this year’s Leaving and Junior Certs have finished. For the first time since 2019, 131,000 students are sitting the tests in the traditional format. Students will be “relatively pleased” with this year’s Leaving Cert English paper one, Studyclix subject expert Jamie Dockery, an English and History teacher at Tyndall College in Co Carlow, has said. He said: “Students will be relatively pleased with the Higher Level Paper 1 English exam which, under the theme of “Powerful Voices” offered them the opportunity to explore and discuss the significance of poetry, music and books. Overall, it was a fair exam with plenty of choice and stimulating material for the stronger candidates in particular to sink their teeth into. “As with last year’s exam, amendments put in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic would have greatly benefited candidates this year – students were only required to answer either a Question A or a Question B from Section I of the paper. “Each of the three texts available in Section I were enticing in their own way and the accompanying questions were generally accessible with the student being asked to explain three insights they gained into the power of either poetry, music or books depending on the text chosen.” Public debates Mr Dockery added: “Interestingly, however, in a move away from recent exams, students were not invited to use material from their Paper II course in this part of the exam. Instead, they were challenged to offer their considered opinions on the lack of diversity in public debates; whether music has a greater impact on us than books or films; or whether they agree or disagree with censorship and contemporary cancel culture. Some students may have struggled with these particular questions. “The Question B options meanwhile were very inviting with students invited to prepare an open letter in defence of the study of poetry; the text of a podcast reflecting on the importance of music in their lives; and an editorial encouraging peaceful protests and warning against the dangers of censorship and book burning. “The Composition section of the exam was a triumph, with students given a broad range of choice including personal essays, feature articles and some really attractive short story options.”

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