How to get a Distinction in Leaving Cert Politics and Society

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In many ways, the Politics and Society course pretty accurately mirrors current affairs. It can be just as disorienting, complex, and occasionally, as downright distressing as the things we watch unfold on television, but it’s also totally fascinating and much more engaging and informative than watching the nine o’clock news! I loved Politics for its ability to bring together and explain so many aspects of the world around me. I got a real kick from being free to look into topics I was interested in and applying them to the questions on the exam. However, this freedom often made studying the subject overwhelming, as the content seemed to branch out in all directions. In this guide I hope to advise you on how you can compartmentalise and simplify the Politics paper, making studying (and ultimately, the exam) seem a lot more manageable than it at first appears.



Exam Tips & Tricks

Personally, I think it’s a good idea to start with the short questions in order to get the definitions you have rote-learned off my chest. By starting with this section you also get to refresh your memory on some of the key ideas, which you can then use in your essays. Make sure you don’t spend too long on this section - I would suggest giving yourself 20 minutes maximum.

With those finished, I’d advise skipping straight to the discursive essays. Whether you want to do one before the documents section and one after or both before is up to you, but I always find that once I’m in the essay zone, I’m there to stay until the job is done! Each essay should take you no more than 35 minutes. They don’t have to be crazy long, all they need to do is discuss the statement sufficiently.

I would then finish with the documents. Take 45 minutes to read through them thoroughly, answer the questions, and do the mini essay. Don’t rush through the questions, as each one can be worth up to 20 marks. Word your answers carefully and you stand an excellent chance of picking up most if not all of the marks. Give a bit more thought to those that force you to consider both sources as they tend to carry more marks. The mini essay at the end of this question is worth 50 marks so it’s a good idea to leave yourself 20 minutes of the 45 to do it properly.
This should leave you with ten minutes to read back over the paper. Don't be afraid to pop some clarifications in the margins if your essays make less sense upon second reading than they did when you were writing them - the examiner will mark it all.

My final and possibly most important piece of advice to anyone sitting the exam is to get interested, get opinionated, and stay informed. Politics is a subject that rewards those who commit to it. If you have a genuine interest in the topics you’re writing about,  this subject will also be infinitely easier. Stay on top of the news, understand the issues in the world around you, and the rest is all about coherent presentation and a little bit of memory work!


Final words of advice

My final and possibly most important piece of advice to anyone sitting the exam is to get interested, get opinionated, and stay informed. Politics is a subject that rewards those who commit to it. If you have a genuine interest in the topics you’re writing about,  this subject will also be infinitely easier. Stay on top of the news, understand the issues in the world around you, and the rest is all about coherent presentation and a little bit of memory work!

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Best of Luck! You will be great!
Sam and the Studyclix Team :)


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