Junior Cert: No surprises with classics, but Italian proves tricky

The final exams of the Junior Certificate tested students in a number of language subjects.

However, the most popular subject yesterday was classical studies, and the higher level paper taken by more than 500 people was very much along expected lines.

This was the opinion of Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) subject spokesman, Jim O’Dea, who noted the continuation of a practice of allowing pupils draw a sketch to illustrate an account.

While most questions were fair and reasonable, he said, a question about Julius Caesar’s successes as a politician and military leader was quite difficult.

Mr O’Dea thought there were no shocks or surprises on the ordinary level paper.

Although the Irish soccer team overcame the Italians the night before, students taking Junior Certificate Italian at higher level found a formidable challenge.

ASTI’s Robbie Cronin felt the paper was too difficult for students at this level, particularly an article about three different markets in Italy, and another about a talent contest for emerging singers and bands.

He said the letter and note questions — about a school tour in Italy and telling a penpal about things the writer does — were fine. While the verb section of the grammar questions was okay, he thought students would have had difficulty with the section in which they must fill in gaps.

Mr Cronin considered the ordinary level paper fine but thought students might have struggled to find the proper term for ‘download free of charge’ or to know the Italian for New Year’s Eve.

Mr O’Dea said the Latin higher level exam was reasonable, apart from some difficult unseen passages. He said the ordinary level Latin paper was along expected lines, apart from one very difficult unseen passage.


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