French (H): Contemporary Topics And Broad Questions Gave Students Lots Of Scope For Their Answers

French (H) Leaving Certificate Analysis

Reaction to 2024 Leaving Certificate French (Higher Level) by Corinne Gavenda, French teacher at The Institute of Education.


  • Students will be happy with a paper that reflects many of the topics they would have prepared throughout their examination preparations. 
  • Students looking for the top marks would have needed to pause and plan their pieces to ensure they were clear and coherent. 



Students opening the paper will be pleased to see some contemporary and accessible topics appearing. The reading comprehension texts of Section A were very relatable in their themes and manageable in their questions. The first text was a young woman reacting to criticism of her area in a manner that drew on social issues and particularly issues affecting young people. The vocabulary for all of this would be familiar as many would have prepared similar discussion points for their orals. Many will have been momentarily bogged down by phrasing Question 5 (a) which would have required several passes to fully grasp. The second text featured a young adult pondering their direction in life, something that is very apt to students at this phase of their lives. Again the questions were very approachable with two straightforward possessive reformulations, but the third will have been a challenge to all but the top scores. In both texts the sixth question allowed students great scope to draw on the whole text, rather than a prescribed narrow range of paragraphs.

The productive writing section was rich in viable choices. However, in order to make the most of these opportunities, students will have needed to pause and plan their approaches. While every student will be able to say something, top scorers will look to distinguish themselves with their clarity and spontaneity in expression. For example, in Question 1 (A) students were asked to assess the idea that the media is giving a false image of young people. To effectively argue this, students needed to express what that image is and then respond accordingly. Question 1 (B) may have puzzled those rushing as the question uses the atypical vocabulary choice of “des centres” rather than “les passe-temps” for ‘hobbies’. As such some may have thought the question meant locations of cultural interest rather than activities. The narrative question will have allowed everyone to accrue marks but might not appeal to those looking to differentiate themselves from their peers. 

The final selections were all approachable. The diary gave them loads of scope to decide the mood of the piece. The email on cycling in Ireland was clear in both directions and structure. As the Olympics are taking place in Paris this year, of course it made an appearance and so students should have lots to say. Question 5 offered a chance to use prepared environmentalist material in response to the claim “we all pollute”. The final question on optimism in the face of war, famine and natural disasters required a philosophical approach that would have been challenging to everyone. However, with ample choice and a lack of time pressure, students should have been able to find a combination of questions that fairly represented themselves on the page.  




After a short break the students returned to their centres for the aural portion. Section A was about working from home and would have been extremely approachable for all students, as Section A usually is. Section B was about wheelchair basketball and so here we saw a reappearance of sport vocabulary. It was very clear and read at a friendly pace. As per usual Section C was a conversation between two friends. There was a tricky question on “le canard rôti au miel”, honey roasted duck, which might be a bit difficult but otherwise there was no awkward vocabulary. Section D was topical with its theme of artificial intelligence. This demanded more focus as the answers are slightly longer but the vocabulary still very approachable. The final section would have posed the greatest challenge with some unusual phrases, “world champion of chips”, but these were only a few moments in an otherwise student-friendly exam.