Study Resources

What does it take to get a H1 in Higher Level German?

Eleanor O’Riordain, a past pupil from The Institute of Education who achieved a H1 in Leaving Cert higher level German, shares her advice for acing the exam.

Aural exam

It’s really easy to underestimate the aural exam, but it’s worth 20% of your overall mark. You need to practice listening at least once a week. Write down as much information as possible for each question and get comfortable with the different accents that are used on the tapes.

Oral exam

If you can arrange practice orals in your school, even just among your fellow students, you’ll become much more comfortable with speaking the language.

ALWAYS remember to refer to your oral examiner in the polite form and rehearse any greeting you will give them. A confident start will impress them and calm your nerves before the real questions start.


What really made the difference for me was downloading my favourite books in German. I got both the print version and the audiobook and I would listen and follow with the text.

Listening to the tape helped with extracting the meaning of large passages for the aural and it also helped improve my pronunciation for the oral.

Reading the text shows you how to write realistically in German and also helps with the difficult vocabulary and grammar used in the first comprehension on the paper.

Know the paper

Become as familiar as you can with the format of the paper and work out your timings for each question in advance.

“The Reading Comprehension section of the Leaving Certificate German exam is vitally important as it carries 30% of the overall marks for the exam.”

In this video Orla Ní Shuilleabháin, who has been teaching German at The Institute of Education for over 30 years, explains how and why students who put the time and practise into their reading comprehension can secure top marks in the higher level German exam.

Reaction to 2023 German Exam

Each year, our exceptional teachers give their take on the Leaving Certificate higher level exam papers.

See what Orla Ní Shúilleabháin, German teacher at The Institute of Education, had to say about the 2023 exam in this short video.

To read reactions to previous year’s business exam papers please visit our blog.

Sample Notes

Students who attend The Institute of Education are provided with exclusive, exam-focussed study notes to support their home study and revision. Below are a sample of the high-quality German notes they receive.

Top Tips

Orla Ni Shuilleabhain, German teacher at The Institute of Education, shares her secrets to success in the written exam.

Stick to the question

Answer what is being asked. Students scored high points if they stayed relevant to the task.

Give detail

In viewing previous years scripts, it is clear that students who do not give enough detail in comprehension questions in both reading and listening lose many marks, especially where the amount of detail needed was not specified.

Be accurate

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.

Practice comprehensions

The comprehension will make or break your exam! Students who practice comprehensions on a regular basis build up their skills and gain high marks.

Oral topics

Revise oral topics covered in the general questions and cover themes in the pictures, as they might appear in some format on the paper.

Know the layout

Be very familiar with the layout of the exam paper. Be aware of the skills required by you in each section and the types of questions you may be asked.

Remember the marking scheme

Always keep the marking scheme in mind as you attempt every section of the paper. This will help earn you extra marks.

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