Subject Guides

How to get a H1 in the Leaving Cert Spanish Exam

By Natasha F. - 2 minute read

Spanish is a little different to other Leaving Cert subjects, it can’t be crammed! A language is more like a skill rather than a “subject”, it has to be practised as well as memorising grammar and vocabulary. In this blog, Natasha goes through her top tips and tricks on getting a H1 in this subject.

Pick up some vocab

In order to learn some new useful phrases and words, I followed Spanish newspapers on social media such as “El Mundo” where I picked up on vocabulary from recent events and things that were topical.

I also changed all my social media to Spanish to learn even more vocabulary. I had an A4 page where I jotted down useful vocabulary, phrases, and verbs as I’d be doing the comprehensions. If you make such a phrases sheet, use it every time you practise an opinion piece, too, to help you remember them.

Phrases such as “¡Que pena!”and  “hay que” can be impressive but do not overdo or repeat them as they’ll lose their value. If you feel you need to use it again try to use a synonym such as por desgracia/desafortunadamente

Planning your opinion piece

A plan helps focus the opinion piece and stops you from ranting aimlessly - it helps you stick to the timing of the exam. When you are planning, you should ask yourself questions such as what points am I going to discuss? What points will I put into each paragraph?

I would write 5 short paragraphs:

  • An introduction to the topic.

  • Three separate paragraphs, one for each idea discussed.

  • The conclusion.

This keeps your essay organised, succint, and detailed.

Tips for the oral...

It is important to vary sentences to create a casual conversation. If you make a mistake, correct it (you won’t get marked down as we make mistakes in English as well!)

Use “filler phrases”, such as “por desgracia” or “pues”. These can be used when you are thinking of a reply. To show confidence in speaking Spanish, introduce topics (that you know very well).

Remember: it’s an exam on general conversation, not a strict interview. This also lets you control the conversation and steers it away from any surprise topics you might not be prepared for.

Tips for the aural

The listening exam is impossible to cram the night before, it’s a skill that has to be practised. There are listening practise books and listening exercises in some textbooks. You can practise past exam listening sections on Studyclix using the aural tool!


For more tips and tricks, read our Spanish Guide by clicking the button below.

Best of luck with your Spanish Exam!

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