Almost 120,000 students have begun their Leaving and Junior Cert exams.
Both grades sat English Paper 1 this morning.
Junior Cert students are sitting the second English paper this afternoon while Home Economics is up on the Leaving Cert.
Full-time second-level teacher Luke Saunders, founder of Studyclix.ie, the website that breaks down Junior and Leaving Certificate exam questions by topic, gives his expert opinion on today’s English papers.
“Today’s higher level English paper didn’t have any major surprises and most students would have been happy with it.
“For the first time ever within a leaving cert paper students were asked to write a blog post, a sign that examiners are moving with the times.
“Higher level students were asked to write a blog post for an online campaign that opposed public expenditure on space exploration while ordinary level students were asked to imagine they were tourists and to write a travel blog based on their experiences and views on Ireland.
“At Higher level, the Composition section offered a variety of discursive titles and short stories.”
Other options for the composition included:
- to write an essay on “the three greatest achievements in human history”
- to write a short story that centres around two characters and a car journey
- to write a speech, that can be serious or amusing, in which you describe what you see as the essential elements of the Irish character
- to write a speech forwarding the motion that “young people should travel and see the World before joining the workforce or furthering their education”
"At Ordinary level, the Composition section offered a wide variety of titles with some unusual options:
Writing a personal essay about “the pleasures of life’s lazy days” must have seemed cruelly ironic for students who have been studying seven days a week for months.
"Possibly influenced by the popularity of the “The Martian” and “Star Wars” movies ordinary level students were required to “imagine that it is the year 3016 and you are living in a city on Mars. Write three diary entries in which you describe the world you live, giving details of your daily life and your hopes for the future.”
"Again, as with the Leaving Cert English papers it was clear the examiners were keen to make this year’s junior cert papers feel contemporary to the digital generation.
“The higher level junior cert English paper featured an article that examined the popularity of Emoji in modern communication and one question even asked students “what are the advantages of using emoji in private text and emails?”
“This must have felt ironic to English teachers out there who often blame text speak as major cause for our teens literacy and spelling deficiencies.
“The media studies question at higher level again followed this contemporary trend by asking students to consider what type of news consumer they are after looking at a graphic of people consuming news on a phone, tablet and newspaper."