Reaction to Leaving Cert 2023 German (Higher Level) by Orla Ní Shúilleabháin, German teacher at The Institute of Education.
- A very relevant paper that drew upon the experiences and concerns of the modern Leaving Cert. student.
- Lots of choice with something that will suit everybody.
This was a German paper that stayed true to the style and format of previous exams. That of course poses its own challenges as it is a long paper with lots to cover and so students will always find themselves racing against the clock. Additionally, German is a subject for which you cannot rote learn pieces and so students must adapt and think on their feet to answer the questions.
The first reading comprehension was a literary text on friendship dynamics among some college students. The topic was not only relevant to the age group but also had a convenient overlap with more material some students would have prepared. This gave the piece familiarity, but that was offset with some challenging vocabulary. This trend of mixing the familiar with the more advanced was continued in the second text on sustainability and festivals. On first seeing the text many students might have paused, because of its length, but it was a very accessible piece. The questions were clear, concise and fair.
The written pieces had something for everyone but continued that convention of requiring students to think on their feet and adapt to previously unseen questions. It is very unlikely that a student would have prepared set pieces on IT firms in Ireland or the extension of the drinking license to 6am, but by the typical standards of the German exam they were fair questions. Behind all the questions lay well-trodden key themes: friendship, wellbeing, climate change, technology, school life, food, and work. Even a question that was seemingly about insomnia was just a way to discuss friendship and wellbeing. This aspect of the paper is always challenging but always present.
The aural was well-paced and well-pitched. Again, the material was relevant, familiar, and accessible with only the occasional tricky term. There was more past tense than might have been expected in Section 1. Much like the rest of the paper, it was a nice true-to-form examination of their skills.