How to get a H1 in Leaving Cert Art

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*Please note that 2022 Leaving Cert exams are subject to adjustments. For the latest information on Leaving Cert 2022 and any changes to this year’s papers please go to *

Art is a fantastic subject. Whether you took Art for Junior Cert or not, this subject can appeal to anyone. I’m not gonna lie, some artistic talent is definitely handy, but with a very doable written paper, this subject could be a good option if you’ve got an average ability and just need the points. The revised marking system is very much focused on creativity & originality, (so as to better prepare kids for college etc.), but your Art teacher will be happy to help. If you’re considering applying to any Art college, or course that requires a portfolio, taking art in school can help you churn out the volume and variety of work that most colleges are looking for.

To read Beatrice's full guide, click into it below:

The Course

As it stands, the subject has 3 components; the Project, the Drawing Exam & the Art History & Appreciation Paper. Overall, the subject has 400 marks. 200 for the project (50%), 50 for the Drawing Exam (12.5%), & the remaining 150 for the written paper (37.5%).

The Project 

  • Fill the page- it gives a much better impression, but leave some room when you’re still in the early stages. You never know when you might think up the perfect idea.

  • Try to experiment - Go back to second class and make pasta art. Anything to show off how unique and original you are. Make it memorable. (Obviously within reason) It’s especially great if no one in your class does the same thing, the examiner will be extra impressed, and will remember you.

  • Colour swatches are our friends. Great to bulk out that empty looking corner

  • Colour!!!! (Or, if monochrome is your thing, then Texture!!!!)

  • Annotate your drawings -  “I used the colours on this Autumn leaf to create my colour scheme"

  • Don’t plagiarise!!! If you get caught out, major trouble. (Also, it’s lazy & boring)

  • Don’t forget to check all your paperwork. Keep in mind limitations given in the brief such as dimensions etc.

  • Make sure the thing you base your project on has enough in it to keep you going. There’s nothing worse than running out of steam halfway to May, so make sure to think about it

  • Chances are, you’ll be stressed out of your brains, but if it’s at all possible, enjoy it. In the end of the day, things will be alright.

The Drawing Exam

The exam consists of two drawings, the first is a standing pose of 15 minutes, worth 20 marks out of your 400 (5%). The model stands for 15 minutes, then they get a break. During their break, you can keep working on your drawing. This drawing should be quick, but accurate. It has to be a full figure sketch. Keep this drawing basic. The most important thing is proportion. The idea is that it tests your observational drawing. For the second drawing, the model sits for 30 minutes, and the drawing is worth 30 marks (7.5%). You have a lot more time for this one, so show off your style. Develop the shading, tone, form & texture. For this one, you get the option of a full figure, or half figure sketch, (NB; if you chose ½ figure, you must include from the hands/waist up).

The Apperciation Exam Paper 

  • Quality over quantity. No need to memorise every piece by da Vinci. Just know the main ones. You’ll be covered

  • Drawings are the most important thing. But only if you can label them.

  • For most things you don’t need to kill yourself learning dates. The century will do.

  • Make sure you have some background knowledge. You only need about a paragraph, so keep it basic. Short and sweet is the goal.

  • You don’t have all that long in the exam, so don’t overegg the cake. See the hill. Take the hill. Move on.

  • Plus the usual exam stuff. Stay for the duration. Read over etc. etc

To read all of Beatrices's tips on all parts of the paper, click here.

Best of luck in the exam!

Beatrice and the Studyclix Team :)

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