Spanish (H): Plenty of choice and time was not an issue

Reaction to Leaving Cert 2021 Spanish (Higher Level) by Begoña de la Fuente, Spanish teacher at The Institute of Education.

This was a nice, manageable paper, with no surprises.

Because of changes made to the exam this year, there was plenty of choice and time was not an issue.


The journalistic text was a nice extract about physical education in schools. The questions were straight forward and most students would have prepared vocabulary around this theme. Some students might have found the word ‘ocio’ (meaning leisure) in question 2 a bit challenging.

Due to changes this year, students only had to answer one out of two comprehensions in question 2, Part A. Normally they must answer both.

The two short comprehensions were about bees and mountain cycling in Ireland. Both were very manageable texts and students should not have had too much difficulty here.


The theme of voluntary work appeared in the long article. Again, the questions were clear and straightforward and there were no unpleasant surprises. Students who know their grammar and had prepared well should have found this section very manageable.

Due to changes to the exam this year, students had a choice of 3 statements for their opinion piece in question 5. Normally they would have a choice of 2.

The theme here was also about volunteering:

  • The world needs volunteers
  • It is important to help people.
  • To be a volunteer is a fantastic experience.

These were nice, open statements and students were encouraged to give their own opinion. The theme was general enough for students to really make it personal and adapt material they would have learnt for topics such as the environment, poverty, emigration and Covid.


This year students had to answer one from four here- the dialogue, letter, diary or note.

The vocabulary and themes in all four were very familiar and relevant to student lives.

In the dialogue, students were told they had arrived in San Sebastian and had to book a room. Preparation for the role play in the oral exam would have helped students with this. Students who had prepared the subjunctive will be disappointed however, because after all their preparation it did not appear in this question.

The letter was about addiction to mobile phones. This is a topical theme and students would have prepared well for it during the year.

The diary was very straightforward and students were asked to write about a trip to Valencia.

In the note, students were asked to write about a concert on a beach that they were attending in Valencia. The vocabulary would have been familiar to them, and as long as students wrote accurate sentences about what they were asked, they should do well here.