Exam Times – German

The Reading Comprehension section of the Leaving Cert German exam is vitally important as it carries thirty per cent of the overall marks for the exam.

Orla Ní Shuilleabháin, who has been teaching German at The Institute of Education for the past 27 years, explains how and why students who put the time and practise into their reading comprehension can secure top marks in the Leaving Cert German exam…



  • Please avoid the temptation to rota learn for the written section, as you will probably have no opportunity on the paper to use it.
  • Focus instead on learning how to write simple and accurate structures and in a relevant manner to respond naturally to the question asked.
  • It is very important not to wander off the point.
  • Do not lift chunks of language out from the comprehensions to answer questions. You will get no marks for this!
  • It is a shame to lose marks for carelessness in word order and basic tenses.



  • Marks are awarded in written to students who answer what is being asked. This was obvious when viewing scripts last year. Students scored very high points if they stayed relevant to the task.
  • In viewing the 2013 scripts, it was clear that students who did not give enough detail in comprehension questions in both reading and listening lost many marks – especially where the amount of detail needed was not specified.
  • The examiner is looking for very good accuracy in word order, verb declension and basic use of cases.
  • Extra marks are awarded for good use of idiomatic phrases and nice structures in the written section
  • The comprehension will make or break your exam! Students who practise comprehensions on a regular basis build up their skills and gain high marks.
  • Revise oral topics covered in the general questions and cover themes in the pictures, as they might appear in some format on the paper.
  • Be very familiar with the layout of the exam paper, being aware of the skills required by you in each section – the types of questions you may be asked.
  • Regularly listen to audio material and read past tape scripts to help you see the range of vocabulary used here. Learn expressions for the weather.
  • Study previous comprehensions regularly using the marking schemes to know how not to lose marks
  • Practise regular grammar and written sections. This is a great way to avoid panicking on the day
  • Build up your passive vocabulary by revising the key vocabulary you have learn this year
  • Always keep the marking scheme in mind as you attempt every section of the paper . It will help earn you extra marks.




German Language

The German Language section of About.com is an excellent learning resource and contains information on everything from the grammatical foundations of German to articles on contemporary German culture, as well as quizzes and games in the language itself. I recommend signing up for the weekly newsletter to your email and adding this extra dimension to your study.


Online German Radio

Sometimes you just don’t feel like studying a language in the traditional way. Perhaps the last thing you want to do is take out a book and repeat new vocabulary over and over again. For times like these, putting on some German language radio as ambient background noise can be the perfect compromise.


German Language Newspapers and Magazines

It is becoming increasingly important to use online and print media to expand your vocabulary and improve your German comprehension beyond that which you learn in the classroom.


Full Supplement Download

Published on Thursday, 30th January, this supplement focuses on Leaving Certificate German.

Download German Supplement (1.01 MB)