#1 Practice, Practice, Practice
The best way to prepare for an oral exam is, you've guessed it!, to speak Irish. Meet up with friends, talk to yourself in the mirror, record yourself on your phone, just keep speaking Irish!.
With 40% of your final mark riding on a 15 minute interview, it's not surprising that many students get really nervous before their oral exam. You can reduce nerves by visualising your exam. Think about the first couple of sentences you will say at the beginning. And remember the examiner will do his or her best to make you feel at ease. Try not to stress too much!
#3 Lead the conversation...
Rather than waiting for the examiner to ask question after question try and lead the conversation into areas you have a good knowledge of and are well prepared for.
Examiner: "How many brothers and sisters do you have?"
Student: "I have one brother, He is studying medicine. I want to study medicine too. I want to go to college in Dublin...
Mindmapping out possible links between conversation topics can be worthwhile. So for example if you are asked about say homework, you can answer that but then link on to your hobbies and interests.
#4 Try to have an accent
Many students feel self consious in class about putting on too strong an accent. However, a good effort to use good pronounciation and an accent will get you higher marks so you should really make the extra effort in the oral.
#5 know the structure of the oral exam
The Irish oral is worth 40% (240 marks) of your final grade and lasts for only 15 minutes. The exam can be broken into 3 main parts;
Welcome (Failtiú) 5 marks
Here you say hello to the examiner, give your name, age, address, birthday and exam number. Make sure you have this prepared as this will settle your nerves.
1. Poetry reading (filíocht le léamh) 35 marks
The examiner will choose one poem for you to read. Don't forget to first read the title and poet's name. With two years to prepare, it's important you are able to read the poem pronouncing the words correctly. You can find videos showing you how to read the poems properly by clicking below
An tEarrach Thiar
An Spáilpin Fánach
2. Picture Stories (Sraith Pictiurí) 80 Marks
The examiner will pick one of the 20 Sraith pictiuri and you will be required to speak about what is going on in the picture. It is really important that you are well prepared and are able to talk about EACH of the pictures on all the sraith pictiurí. Check out these videos that will help you prepare each Sraith Pictiur.
Next, You ask the examiner 3 questions about the chosen Sraithpictiur. The examiner will then ask you 3 specific questions on the picture.
3. Conversation (Comhrá) 120 Marks
If all is going to plan you should be finished your poem and sraithpictiurí with about 8 minutes for the general conversation (comhrá) part of your exam. Follow the advice above and try and lead the conversation to topics you are comfortable talking about. It can be very helpful to learn off filler phrases such as agus mar sin de (and so on), i mo thuairim (in my opinion) and mar ata fhios agat fein (as you know yourself).
and if all comes to all, don't forget Tá brón orm, Ní thuigim an cheist!
Best of luck!!