Exam Times – Spanish

The Spanish Oral Exam is worth 25% of your overall marks in the Leaving Certificate.

Agueda Keegan, who has been teaching Spanish at The Institute of Education for 28 years, has some key advice for students preparing for their oral exam this year…



  • Use every opportunity to practice speaking Spanish.
  • Prepare responses to common personal questions. Avoid memorising scripts.
  • Practice speaking Spanish with a friend from class. Ideally make a day or lunch (with tapas!) when you can only speak Spanish to each other. Chat about your daily routine and try introducing current affairs.
  • Practise vocabulary and expressions you find difficult to pronounce.
  • Rehearse questions in different tenses.
  • Use as many verbs as possible in your response, a minimum of seven verbs in each tense. Avoid making the examiner work to assess your ability. For example, if the examiner asks ‘What did you do last weekend?’ don’t merely respond with a single activity. To demonstrate a good grasp of the language and an extensive vocabulary, cover the entire day from getting up in the morning to going to bed at night.
  • Link vocabulary with different verbs. Use both regular and irregular verbs for each tense.
  • Read your responses out loud once a day, to improve your pronunciation and intonation.
  • Record the conversations and listen to them during the day instead of your music.
  • Listen to your classmates when the teacher is engaged with them, you will benefit from it. Avoid switching off!
  • Become acquainted with Spanish culture and traditions.
  • Be aware that the oral examination is good preparation for the written exam in June.



  • Being too nervous. The examiner is not looking for holes in your knowledge, steer the conversation to things you are comfortable speaking about.
  • Making the examiner work to assess your ability. Always attempt to expand on your answer as much as possible.
  • Repeating the same verb.
  • Responding in the incorrect tense.
  • Incorrect grammatical agreement between adjectives and nouns, and singular and plural.
  • Using the incorrect article. Make sure to use for example; EL problema/un problema/este problema.
  • Using Ser instead of Estar (the verb – to be)
  • Incorrect use of gustar/encantar + infinitive, e.g. me gusta ir al cine.
  • Not using the subjunctive where required, e.g. cuando termine los exámenes iré de vacaciones.
  • Not paying attention or responding to the examiner’s questions.
  • Not correcting a grammatical mistake or mispronunciation when you recognise you have made one. Don’t just continue talking, correct it.


Full Supplement Download

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

Download Spanish Supplement (1.07 MB)




The resources below can all help improve confidence with and fluency in the Spanish language.