Leaving Cert

Everything You Need To Know Before You Do Your Irish Oral

By Eimear Dinneen - 5 minute read

Here is a guide on how to succeed in your Irish Oral.

1. Practise, Practise, Practise

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!.

2. Visualize

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. Listen to Irish as much as possible

One of the best ways of learning and perfecting a language is to listen to and hear it all the time. Try watching TG4, listening to Radio na Gaeltachta or watching YouTube videos in Irish!

This will tune your ears to the sound of the language as well as help you learn and absorb new words.

5. Know the structure of the exam

The exam can be broken into 4 parts;

1. 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.

2. 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 as well as notes on the poems by clicking below

3. Picture Stories (Sraith Pictiúr) 80 Marks

The examiner will pick one of the 20 SPs 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 sraiths. Check out these videos that will help you prepare each Sraith Pictiúr.

Next, you ask the examiner 3 questions about the chosen Sraithpictiur. The examiner will then ask you 3 specific questions on the picture.

4. 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 féin (as you know yourself).

Make sure not to forget tá brón orm, ní thuigim an cheist! (Sorry, I don't understand the question!)


For more tips and advice on how to succeed in Leaving Cert Irish, have a look at our guide on how to get a H1 here.

Go n-éirí leat!!

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