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Leaving Cert English - How I got an A1

LC English: 4 Tips to Exam Success

Leaving Cert English is a subject that drives fear into the hearts of most students. It needn’t be this way though, English is manageable provided you prepare well and put in the work right now, while you can. Here, Eamonn and Eimear from the Studyclix team give you some quick sure-fire ways to help you get the grade you deserve come June.


Know your strengths, and play to them

It’s really important that you start to figure out what type of pieces suit you and perhaps more importantly those that don’t. This is especially true in the composition section, where you write one essay from the seven available. These can vary from short stories and newspaper articles to speeches. If you haven’t already done so, try a few of these out from the past papers and see what kind of compositions best fits how you write. You can really easily view all of the composition topics from past papers on Studyclix.ie, as well as what examiners were looking for in each year. It might be a case of trial and error but it’ll be a lot easier to write a piece in a style that you like!


Don’t Summarise

It can be really easy when writing longer answers, especially for the Single Text and Comparative sections of the exam, to start to summarise the text you’re writing about. The examiner knows exactly what happened in King Lear so there’s no point in retelling the story in your own words. Instead you should focus on analysing the text and making points about why you think certain events happen and certain characters behave the way they do. If you’re not really sure about what a more discursive answer looks like there are some great A1 sample answers on Studyclix, to work from.

Always Plan

For every essay style answer you do in English it really helps to have a plan before you commit pen to paper. Your plan doesn’t have to be complicated or cover everything you’re going to write but it should be a rough guide of what points you plan on covering in your answer. This can be a lifesaver if you forget about your most important point half-way through your essay and really keeps you focussed while you're writing. You can do your plan out on some extra paper and keep it in front of you in the exam or at the back of your answer book.

Get Personal with poetry…

In Paper Two and in particular the poetry section, your examiner really wants to see your own engagement with the pieces. You will be really well rewarded with marks for writing things like ‘In my opinion..’, ‘I found’ ‘I could relate to..’, provided you back these statements up from the poem or text your writing about. If you’re one of those people who thinks that they ‘don’t get’ poetry, then think again. Anyone can do poetry, because it’s all about your personal interpretation of the poems. As long as you back up your point with evidence from the poem, you’re on the road to success.

You can read and print off all of Eimear's tips as a PDF here

Good Luck, we're sure you'll do great.

Eamonn and Eimear, The Studyclix Content Team.