Junior Certificate

Outline of Junior Certificate Subjects

Gaeilge don Teastas Sóisearach.

The was a major change to the course in 2009.


Páipéar 1: ……………………………………………………………………………… 150 marc = 62%

Cluastuiscint (40 marc) + Ceapadóireacht + Gramadach + Léamhthuiscintí (150 marc)

Paper 1- Aural exam and writing + Grammer + Comprehensions = 150  marks  two hours long.

Páipéar 2: ……………………………………………………………………………… 90 marc = 38%

Léamhthuiscint x 2 (15 marc + 15 marc) + Litríocht (30 marc) + Litir (30 marc)

Paper 2 –  Reading comprehension + Literature + Letter = 90 marks



Páipéar 1: ……………………………………………………………………………… 150 marc = 62%

Cluastuiscint (40 marc) + Ceapadóireacht (80 marc) + Léamhthuiscintí (120 marc) (240 marc)


Paper 1- Aural exam (40 mark) + writing (80 mark) + Comprehensions (120 mark)  = 240  marks. = 38%




There are two papers in the Junior Cert Higher Level English exam. Paper One examines your language skills by asking you to analyse texts you have never seen before (Reading) and to answer creative (Personal Writing) and functional writing tasks. Media Studies is also examined on this paper. Paper Two looks for answers to from your studied curriculum.

Students should be familiar with past exam papers. Confusion often arises on Paper Two where students are not clear what sections/questions they should be answering.




Section 1 – Reading

In this section students are given a short extract to read, and then asked questions.

At higher level, students are expected to show an understanding of the writer’s style and technique.

Personal Response is very important.

Remember to give the question its allocated time: that is, a 15 mark question will usually require less writing than a 30 mark question.

Section 2 – Personal Writing

In the ‘Composing’ section students are given eight essay options, one of which they must complete. Except where otherwise stated, you are free to write in any form you wish e.g. narrative, descriptive, dramatic, short story, etc. Students will be rewarded for:

A personal approach to the subject

An appropriate style

Liveliness and a good choice of words

Organisation and accuracy

Section 3 – Functional Writing

In this section students must choose between one of three functional writing tasks. These may include a letter /speech /newspaper review /reference /brochure /picture /fax etc. They are expected to write in the style stated. Students will be rewarded for:

Well-structured answers

Clarity of expression

An appropriate tone

Good grammar, spelling, punctuation and correct use of capitals

Section 4 – Media Studies

In this section you must answer all of the questions on a particular aspect of media studies. These questions may include an advertisement /radio or television schedule /newspaper review /cartoon/etc.


Section 1 – Drama: Students must answer both Question one (Unseen Drama) and Question two (Studied Drama).

Unseen Drama

Students have a choice between Shakespearean drama or Other drama. They will be given a short extract to read and will be required to answer two of three questions on the extract. These questions tend to focus on aspects such as character, atmosphere, direction, and stage setting.

Studied Drama

Question two is the play students studied in class (e.g. Merchant of Venice/ The Field)

Students can choose one of two questions on the play that you have studied in class.

Students must give the name of the play and the author. They are not allowed to use the Drama excerpts from Question one.

Section 2 – Poetry: Students must answer both Question one (Unseen Poem) and Question two (Studied Poetry).

Unseen Poem

The focus here is on a student’s ability to respond to a poem that they have never seen before, to understand the central ideas and to comment on some of the issues of style (use of language, imagery, etc.).

Read the poem a few times to understand it fully. Firstly, read it quickly to get the overall meaning. Then perhaps you should read the questions – in fact, the questions will give some clues as to what the poem is about. Read the poem again focussing on what your now know.

Don’t be put off by words or phrases you do not understand; remember the focus is on your general response to the poem.

Studied Poetry

Students can choose one of two questions on the poetry that they have studied in class.

Don’t use the poem given in the previous question

You must give the title of the poem you choose and the name of the poet.

You may be asked to compare two poems by the same poet.

Section 3 – Fiction: Students must answer both Question one (Unseen Fiction) and Question two (Studied Fiction).

Unseen Fiction

Students will be expected to read the piece of fiction and answer the questions following it. The questions tend to focus on such elements of the extract as character, atmosphere, and notable features of style.

Studied Fiction

Question two is the novel /short story students have studied in class e.g. Kill a Mockingbird / The Sniper

There will be two questions, students must answer one.

Students must give the name of the novel or short story that you choose.

Ordinary Level

All of the components studied for Higher Level are examined at Ordinary Level. There is only one paper and all questions receive the same marks.

Students preparing for Junior Certificate English should spend between one and a half and two hours studying English every week.






Junior Cert maths is split between 5 classes, 3 higher level and 2 ordinary level. These were created on the basis of the student’s performance in their summer exams 2011. This ensures that all students are given the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

The workload required for higher level is quite onerous and students need to ensure that all homework is complete/attempted and that classwork is revised daily. It is important that students remain on top of the subject and do not fall behind.

A Canadian study Pathways to Success 2,000 clearly reveals that entry to University is predictable by the homework habits of 15 year olds:


Homework at 15

Hours per week

University entrance

4 – 7

1 -3

< 1






Teachers will give regular class tests and it is important that parents monitor same to be aware of student’s progress. Christmas exams and Mocks exams should be taken very seriously as they are an indicator of how students are performing and will perform in their Junior Cert.

Students should have all equipment required for each class.

Namely: Text books/Past Exam Papers/Maths Tables/Scientific Calculator.


Students are encourage to take responsibility for their own learning and teachers will be more

than happy to provide individual guidance and assistance.






Higher Level:   The exam consists of 2 papers

Paper 1 (2.5 hrs)   Section A – Short answers (All 20 questions to be completed) – 20%

Section B – Long questions (4 out of 6 to be completed) – 40%


Paper 2:  (2 hrs)    Long questions only (4 out of 6 to be completed) – 40%


Ordinary Level: One paper only (2.5 hrs)

Section A – Short answers (All 20 questions to be completed) – 25%

Section B – Long questions (5 out of 8 to be completed) – 75%


In addition the Junior Cert Exam, the following exams will also take place in 3rd Year for students of Business Studies:

Class tests on topics covered on a regular basis

Christmas Exam, December.

Mock Exam, February



With the vast majority of the course already completed, students should be now starting revision of non book-keeping topics covered in the previous 2 years. The book-keeping topics will be revised in class in time for the Mock exam.



Students should be doing at least 20 minutes of homework/revision each night with additional revision of previous years work at the weekends. Book-keeping questions require regular practice so uncompleted homework is a major barrier to a students progress in this area. Class teachers will inform students when to obtain past exam papers.



The majority of students are encouraged to take the Higher Level paper. The decision to take an Ordinary Level paper should be discussed at the parent/teacher meeting in November. An opportunity to change levels can be agreed after the Mock exam.




At this stage of the three year cycle students will have covered two thirds of their Junior Certificate Science course. Students should be revising material that was covered in 1st and 2nd year as well as keeping up to date with what is going on in class at present.


As Science is a laboratory based course there are 30 experiments that are carried out over the course of the 3 year cycle.


Students need to keep a written account of all experimental work that is carried out. This aspect of the course accounts for 10% of the overall mark awarded for Junior Certificate Science. This written account may be examined by a subject inspector from the Department of Education and Skills.


In the latter half of 3rd year students are required to carry out 2 laboratory based investigations. This project work accounts for 25% of the overall mark.


The terminal written paper accounts for the remaining 65% awarded for Junior Certificate Science.


Students should have a set of past examination papers to help in their revision of the course.


Higher level material, for those intending to take the subject at that level, is clearly highlighted in the main textbook.


Students intending to take the subject at Ordinary Level do not need to study the parts of the course that are highlighted as being for Higher Level only.


All students are encouraged to follow the higher level course up until the Mock Examination in February of their Junior Certificate year.




1st Year 2nd Year 3rd Year
Sources Age of exploration Modern Irish History
Archaeology Plantations Modern European History
Stone Age Age of Revolution Social History
Celts Industrial Revolution  
Ancient Civilizations Famine  
Middle Ages Reformation  


History should be part of students study plan, recommend 1.5 hrs study per week. Students have been advised to begin revising the topics from 1st & 2nd year.

Decision on taking Higher Level /Ordinary Level

The Teacher recommends which level the students should take following the mock exams. HL paper contains two extra sections which require greater detail. HL paper is 30 mins longer than OL.


The Past Today 2nd edition

Past papers



Physical Maps Social Economic

Example: Rivers, Coast/Glaciation






Aerial photographs

Sketch maps



Population distribution,



Primary, Secondary & Tertiary activities, Economic inequalities



Geography should be part of students study plan, recommend 1.5 hrs study per week. Students have been advised to begin revising the topics from 1st & 2nd year.

Decision on taking Higher Level /Ordinary Level

The Teacher recommends which level the students should take following the mock exams. Content of both levels is the same, but greater detail is required in  answering  the HL paper.


New Complete Geography edition 4 & workbook

Past papers




Students study the 7 concepts of:

Rights and Responsibilities, Human Dignity, Stewardship, Development, Democracy, Law, and Interdependence, over the course of 3 years


In second year students will complete an Action Project on a subject of their choice associated with one of the key concepts.  This Action Project is worth 60% of their overall mark.


Students will also have to complete a written paper during the State Exams.  Students must complete this part of the exam as they will not be marked on the Action Project alone.


As part of this course students will be encouraged to keep up to date with recent civic, social, and political changes in Ireland and abroad.  They are encouraged to become Active Citizens, knowledgeable of events that influence their lives both today and tomorrow.







Duration: 2½ hours


320 Marks                               Both Higher Level and Ordinary Level


Listening Exam (June) 140 marks                   44%

Written Exam (June)               180 marks                   56%


In addition the Junior Cert Exam, the following exams will continuously take place throughout 3rd Year for students of Spanish (Both Levels):


Grammar Points


Reading Comprehensions

Listening Exams

Letter Writing


In-House Class Term Exams:

October Exam

Christmas Exam (December)

Mock Exam (February)

April Exam (2nd Mock)



Students have completed, and will continue to complete, written homework assignments as well as study every evening, and should have a written account of their homework assignments recorded in their journals.


Students MUST continue to revise and study ALL of the following from 1st and 2ndYear:

Vocabulary Lists

Grammar Points


Letter Preparation



85% of Junior Cert Grammar Points have been covered.

Constant Revision is under way in preparation for the Junior Cert Exam.

We are currently building up vocabulary to prepare our students for the Past Exam Papers.

Listening Preparation has begun and will intensify in the coming weeks.

Written Expression will commence after Mid-term Break.


At this stage of Junior Cycle, students need to spend a minimum of 15 hours study per week, to be divided between their subjects.

Neither Saturdays nor Sundays should be neglected.

After the Christmas exam our target would be that all tudents of Spanish should be completing at least ONE Full Paper per week, and at a minimum of TWO EVENINGS revising vocabulary.






Consistent work at this Junior Cert. level is the key to success.

Course content:

The allocation of marks at Junior Certificate examination is as follows:

a)       Written Paper: (Ordinary Level 20%  –  Higher Level 25%)

b)             Aural : (Ordinary Level 44%  –  Higher Level 45%)

c)         Comprehension: (Ordinary Level 36%  –  Higher Level 30%)


Generally, Higher Level students are expected to spend 25 minutes on homework and a further 15 minutes on revision per night. Similarly, Ordinary Level students are expected to revise for a further 15 minutes after homework is completed.

Christmas/ Mock Exams:

These exams will be set at the appropriate levels and will cover the full course content.  The results of these exams will determine if students currently taking higher level will continue to do so.

Textbooks and other resources:

Both levels:     Bienvenue 2, Ecoutez Bien 1, Dictionary and past exam papers (Edco)





Projects begin in October and May is the deadline!

Exam in May:

Life Drawing

Observational Drawing


Each student must draw a natural or man-made object from the papers handed out a week in advance. Any quick drying medium may be used. Higher level students must also complete a detailed section of their object.

They are informed of the pose for life drawing, a week prior to the exam. Again any quick drying medium may be used.



Materials Technology Wood (MTW)

Students receive a project brief from the Department of Education the week after the October mid-term break.  The students are expected to select one brief from either a higher or ordinary level and complete a portfolio and artefact. They follow the design process that is supplied with the brief. Students give a cutting list to their teacher for the materials. The materials are then given to the student once the fee for the wood has been paid. The students work on their project during class time. The work has to be carried out under the supervision of the teacher. The date of submission will be the last Friday in April. The project has to be formally submitted to the State Examinations Commission for assessment.


Students should have all homework completed on time and in class for correction by the teacher. It is important for students that they practice questions from past junior cert papers in order to familiarise themselves with common topics that appear on the paper.

Higher Level                                                                Ordinary Level

Project             200 marks                                           Project             200 marks

Exam               100 marks                                           Exam               80 marks



Technical Graphics (T.G)

Course Content

Students will use the same equipment that they have had since arriving into the school (Tech Box will all the equipment required). This will be required at every class and will also be needed to be brought home when homework has been given out. Students will generate a folder, which will have all the topics listed below, and use this as a resource for study and revision.

Orthographic Projection                     5. Developments

Transformation Geometry                  6. Ellipse & Parabola

Rotations                                             7. Axonometric

Solids in Contact                                 8. Short Questions

The exam consists of two Sections:

Section A (Answer any 10 questions from 15)

Section B (Answer any 4 questions from 6)

Homework/Revision/ Study

Homework will be given out when required by the teacher, each topic will be different.

Revision varies from topic to topic, however study is best done by doing out a question from start to finish.

The book we have, “Understanding Technical Graphics” by Tadhg and john O’Sullivan, can also be used for revision and helps aid study. We will generally use questions from the book, when Exam Papers are not being used.