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Leaving Cert Spanish

The structure of the Spanish Leaving Cert is quite similar for both higher and ordinary levels.

All students are tested on: speaking, listening, reading and writing. However, the marking scheme is a little different.

> Higher Level

Oral Exam (25pc, 15 mins)

>Role-play (30 marks)

>General conversation (70 marks)

Listening Comprehension (20pc, 40 mins)

Written Paper (55pc, 150 mins)

>Reading: Section A: Prescribed literature/journalistic text (50 marks) plus two short texts (20 marks)

Section B: Questions 1-4 (50 marks)

>Writing: Section B: Question 5: opinion piece (50 marks)

Section C: Dialogue construction/letter (30 marks) plus diary entry/note (20 marks)

> Ordinary Level

Oral Exam (20pc, 15 mins)

>Role-play (30 marks)

>General conversation (70 marks)

Listening Comprehension (25pc, 40 min)

Written Paper (55pc, 150 mins)

>Reading: Section A: one text with questions in Spanish (50 marks) and four with questions in English (110 marks)

>Writing: Section B: Informal letter (40 marks) and diary entry/note (20 marks).

It is important to be aware that even though there is not a specific grammar section, a good command of the language is necessary, especially for the oral and the written parts.

> Oral Exam

The oral exam will take place in the first weeks of April. The role-play is the first part of the exam which takes four to six minutes and ends with one or two unseen questions related to the dialogue.

The general conversation lasts eight to 10 minutes. The examiner tests the student’s knowledge of a variety of structures, vocabulary and verbal tenses, mainly present, past and future. The topics include: Yo (myself); Mi rutina diaria (everyday activities, weekends); Mi familia (my family); Mi casa (my house); Donde vivo (my area, town, city…); Mis estudios (my school, subjects, teachers, future studies, college etc); Mis pasatiempos (sports, music, books, films, fashion and clothes . . .); Trabajo y dinero (part-time jobs, working experience, pocket money . . . future work etc); Vacaciones (past holidays, plans for future holidays).

Think of the exam as an opportunity to show how much you know.

>How to prepare:

Read aloud to improve your pronunciation.

Prepare useful vocabulary on each topic.

Practise in pairs.

Record yourself speaking Spanish to spot your mistakes.

>In the exam

>Remember to use the polite form ‘usted’ to address the examiner.

>Never answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ or by repeating the question. Provide a complete answer with your own vocabulary of at least two sentences.

>Pay attention to the verb tenses, the present for habits or current actions, the indefinite for past events, and the future (ir a . . .) for plans.

>If you realise you have just made a mistake don't be afraid to correct it.

>Never use English. If you are not sure about one question use ‘¿Puede repetir, por favor?’ or ‘Lo siento, no entiendo la pregunta’, or simply ‘Perdón?’.

>Keep eye contact and smile.

>When the exam is finished, say thank you ‘Gracias’, it was a pleasure to meet you ‘Encantado/a de conocerle/la’ and goodbye ‘Adios’ in Spanish.

> Reading Comprehension

For ordinary level there are only comprehensiontype questions. For higher level, there are more types such as translation, rewriting or looking for words or phrases from the text.

>In the exam

>When facing a text, read the title and look at the picture — they should give you some hint about the topic. Then read the questions so you know the information you have to look for. Then skim the text searching for the answers.

>Do not panic if you cannot understand every word. The vocabulary in the exam can be very challenging. Try to get the general meaning from the context.

>Read the headings twice, underline keywords and make sure you answer in the same language as you are asked.

>Be careful with timing.

> Written Expression

You will be asked to write a variety of texts in your exam. Be familiar with the different layouts of the texts (letter, diary entry, note, essay) and try to learn some set sentences. Every year students repeat the same mistakes losing a lot of valuable marks just for not doublechecking the following:

>Complete sentences: Never leave blanks or use words in English. If you do not know a word you need, try to think of a similar word or a more generic one, or change the whole sentence if it is necessary.

>Verbal tenses: Be careful, especially with irregular forms.

>Agreement: Check masculine/feminine, singular/ plural in the words surrounding nouns.

>Spelling: The only consonants that can be doubled in Spanish are the ones in CaRoLiNa.

>Confusing pairs: Make sure you understand the difference between and uses of ser/estar, por/para etc.