How to Get a H1 in Leaving Cert Religious Studies
People tend to see Leaving Cert Religious Studies as an easy subject that you simply have to say a couple of rosaries to achieve a good grade, but this is not the case. In the blog and guide below, an experienced Religious Studies teacher, Paul McAndrew, gives some tips and advice on how to tackle the exam and the coursework so that you can achieve the highest mark possible!
Know the paper:
I really recommend knowing the layout and history of the paper from year to year. Both Studyclix and examinations.ie have an extensive examination material archive on their sites where you can access all exam papers from 2005-2016. Also, look at the marking schemes for each exam, this will give you a feel of what the examiner is looking for in answering the questions on the paper.
Understand and answer the question asked:
This is the cardinal sin of every student, not answering the question being asked. Read the question fully, understand what the examiner is looking for and answer the exact question that is being asked.
Show that you understand the question in your answer. Define key words or phrases in your introduction. Write an accurate/worthwhile answer in regards to the question that you are being asked to answer. If possible, show personal engagement in your answer, your opinion can help when discussing or arguing a specific point.
Make a plan:
Make sure your argument is well presented and thought through. You can do this by planning your answer before you write it out fully. Take about 1 min to do this for each question on the paper.
Listen and participate in class:
Topics become memorable when you take a genuine interest in them and listen in class. Being open to different views from classmates and forming your own view on topics makes it easier to give a well-rounded answer in an exam and it's easier to remember if you've actually thought about it!
Lastly, I'd just suggest being calm going into all the exams! Take deeps breaths and read the questions carefully. When answering a question, make sure you address all parts of the question and state clearly in the introduction/conclusion to each paragraph which part of the question you are answering. There's a temptation to write down everything you know if you are well prepared, so make sure that when you're answering you only write what is relevant!
You can read all of Paul's advice by reading the guide above or you can download and print them here. Paul teaches Religious Studies to 6th years each year. Catherine Leahy and Eve O' Leary, two of his students who got H1s in their Religious Studies exam last year, helped contribute to this blog and took the above advice to gain their brilliant marks.
Best of luck with the study and in the exam!
Paul and the Studyclix Team