How I got a Distinction in New Junior Cycle English

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The New Junior Cycle English exam is very different to the old course in that most of it is un-seen – you won’t know what’s on the exam until you open it in June! However, this doesn’t make it any more difficult to prepare for, thanks to the new Classroom Based Assessment and Assessment Tasks. This guide will give you a broader understanding of the aims of the new exam, and how to do well in it! At the end of the day, it’s an English exam, so you’ll do well so long as you can write!





The exam is 120 minutes long and is marked out of 180 so you should spend no more than 3 minutes on a 5-marker, or 10 minutes on a 30-mark question, etc. Additional time should be used to improve answers. This is what I did, and happy I did so rather than leaving early, like my peers. Marks can only be got in the exam hall!

Get the balance

Don’t write too little OR too much – you can be penalised for both. Fortunately, the new exam has as-signed writing space – so you should only need more paper if you have huge writing. Don’t neglect other sections just because you have loads to write in one!

Essentials in the exam hall

Have a few pens on you - but only blue or black. No pencil. And don’t fill in the barcodes or doodle with your pen– your exam will be scanned for marking, so the barcode is needed. No Tippex should be used either, as it takes too long to dry and will create errors in the scanning process.

Order of answering

I would go to Responding to Stimulus Material questions first, to read the text only, so you can be thinking about it in the back of your mind as you tackle the studied text questions after. Then, proceed to answer the stimuli, and finally, the writing questions. This is how I tackled the exam; I left all my time till the end for writing a script! This prevents rushing the writing section. Answer every question, even if you have to leave some unfinished!

Lost in the exam?

Ask the supervisor for help with understanding a question if you need to. They won’t answer it, nor give you a definition to a word – but they will clarify certain things if they are generally misleading.

CBAs and Assessment Tasks

Work hard on your CBAs because it will pay off. The Assessment Task also requires attention for 20 marks out of 200.

Don’t panic!

In English, you don’t lose marks; you earn them. Work hard and practice and you’ll do superb.


Best of Luck!
Eve and the Studyclix Team :)

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