The new Junior Cycle Irish course is specifically designed to test students of all levels – getting a distinction won’t be easy! The exam is split into two parts, Roinn A, the listening section, and Roinn B, the reading, composition, and literature section. The course also includes two CBAs and an Assessment Task. To get a distinction, you must achieve at least 270 marks out of the 300 total. This guide is designed to take you step-by-step through the Junior Cycle exam, giving you tips and tricks relevant to each question along the way.
Bí ag éisteacht, bí ag léamh
Read in Irish as much as possible. It is very important for you to understand the syntax (the way a sentence is formed) of the language in order to understand reading passages. You should also highlight any words you don’t recognise and look them up because you never know what may reappear on the exam!
You might want to read through all your prepared texts four or five times to make sure you fully understand everything.
To prepare for the listening, you can test yourself using past exam questions and sample questions, watch the news or other TV shows on TG4, and listen to Irish-language podcasts online.
Practice makes perfect
One of the most effective ways to study for any exam is to look at the past papers/sample questions and prepare answers, as you will find you can use some variation of your prepared answers to answer the questions on the exam.
Point, Quote, Explain
I find the best approach to take when writing a response to the studied text questions is to follow the PQE (Point, Quote, Explanation) method - make your point, back it up with some textual evidence or a quote, and explain how that quote proves your initial statement. You should also prepare some ideas for your own opinions of the texts – what you enjoyed, what you liked and what you disliked – as you may be asked for your own input. This method is foolproof and will make sure you stay on task!
Fail to prepare, prepare to ...
Write and memorise lots of plans for the various formats that may be asked so that you will have something to work off in the exam. It also helps to memorise lots of seanfhocail to help you in pieces such as the essay, magazine articles etc.
While knowing all your information is very important if you want to get a distinction, it will be of no use to you if you can’t understand the questions asked on the exam! The language in the questions may appear very complicated, and you might misinterpret what you are being asked. My advice would be to go through the past papers and underline key terms in the questions, such as:
An ndéarfá féin . . . would you say
Déan cur síos . . . describe
Tréith. . . characteristic
Buaicphointe . . . highlight
Achoimhre . . . summary
The new Junior Cycle course covers a lot of information, and you will have to work very hard if you want to achieve a distinction. Follow this guide and you should have more than enough to get you through the exam with maximum marks. Keep expanding your vocabulary, and read, write, and listen in Irish as much as possible.
Go n-éirí libh!
Áine and the Studyclix Team :)