Everything you need to know for the Irish Oral
The orals can be a stressful time as for many students it's the first real taste of exam pressure. Emer McTernan, Studyclix expert teacher, shares some advice on how to be ready for your Irish orals.
Be familiar with the layout of the exam.
The Irish Oral is worth 40% of the total marks in the Leaving Certificate. The oral lasts approximately 15 minutes and is comprised of four sections
Get your welcome right
An Fáiltíu (Welcoming/ Introduction) (Approx 1 minute) – students will answer five basic questions to put them at their ease at the start of the exam (ainm, aois, dáta breithe, áit chónaithe, uimhir scrúduithe). There are 5 marks available here.
Practice an tSraith Pictiúr
Next, an tSraith Pictiúr(Picture Sequence) (Approx five minutes) - Students will be asked to pick at random one Sraith Pictiúr . Practicising the Sraith Pictiúr is essential. There are 80 marks available here. Make sure to check out all 20 Sraith Pictuirs on the Studyclix Youtube channel.
We recommend you listen to these videos a few times and especially before the exam, not only to help you with pronunciation and vocab, but also so that you can regularly listen to the Irish language to improve your general comprehension and fluency of the language.
Be ready for the Comhrá
The final section of the oral exam is an Comhrá (General Conversation) (Approx 7-8 minutes). The examiner will ask questions on a variety of topics such as:
- An chlann
- An ceantar
- An scoil
- An saol tar éis na hArdteistiméireachta.
- Caitheamh Aimsire
- Post Páirt - Aimseartha
- Laethanta Saoire
- An Ghaeilge agus an Ghaeltacht
- Fadhbanna Sóisialta
- Cursaí Reatha
Remember the Irish Oral exam is mostly a conversation between two individuals. Smile, use eye contact, be pleasant! On entering the room, welcome the examiner to your school/town! “Tá fáilte romhat go hInis Eiscir Abhainn, a dhuine uasal!” If you can, why not ask the examiner a question. “ An bhféachann tú féin ar an gclár sin? / An raibh tú féin riamh i Meiriceá?”
Practice as much as possible
“Déanann cleachtadh máistreacht”. Practice is key!! Meet up with friends and classmates to practice. Compile a list of possible questions and ask each other. You may pick up some nice expressions or idioms from each other.
Record Yourself reciting poems
There are 35 marks available for a perfect Léamh Filíochta. Record yourself reciting the poems on your mobile phone and listen back. Alternatively, check out the “Cuireadh chun Cainte” videos on Youtube. These marks are quite easy to attain with regular practice. In the exam, don’t worry if you stumble over a word. Just correct yourself and keep going. You will not lose marks by doing this!
By now, you should have covered all your Sraith Pictiúr. As with the Léamh Filíochta, record your 20 Sraith Pictiúr on your phone/iPod and listen to them while walking to school or waiting for the bus. Nobody has to know that that’s what you’re listening to! Make sure you have prepared all 20. You have as much chance of picking that one you don’t like as you do your favourite! A good performance is a great confidence booster for the Comhrá so it’s really worth preparing them well. If you do get stuck on a sentence / a description, just move on to the next picture.
Moving onto the Comhrá, although most students pre-prepare answers, you must be aware that the examiner is likely to interrupt long winded answers. Don’t panic if you don’t get to say everything you’ve prepared!! This is normal conversation!!
Don’t wait for the examiner to ask you questions, offer the information!! Avoid one word answers.
Don’t give false information. If you’ve no interest in sport, don’t pretend you do! Tell the examiner what you are interested in and you’ll be asked questions on this.
Listen carefully to the examiner's question. Remember as Gaeilge you answer the question with the verb that’s in the question. “An dtógann tú an bus ar scoil?” “Tógann/ Ní thógann”. When students answer with “Sea”, it’s usually wrong!!
Listen to Irish sna meáin chumarsáide. Take a half an hour break and watch something every evening on TG4. Spend a half an hour listening to Raidió na Gaeltachta. It won’t go to waste!
Look over your work the night before and then leave it behind you! A good night’s sleep and a clear head are hugely important before every exam. Cramming into the early hours can be detrimental.
Your teachers/ parents/ guardians/ friends fully understand that the Irish Oral can be a stressful and worrying time for students. Don’t panic. Be confident in the work that’s done and don’t dwell on what’s not done. Remember the examiner has the marks and really wants to give to them to you!! You’ve prepared well – now best foot forward and déan do dhícheall!!
If you want to hear more advice on how to tackle the Béaltriail, listen to Studyclix's own Eimear and Nessa talk about their experience and tips: