Hugh – Higher Level
Text 1: Someone in the SEC was clearly having a laugh with this one, a story about a German in Greece. How ironic……..and how very not German! The story was basically about a German lady who travels to a small town in Greece to visit her Greek “friend”, who works as a waiter in a local restaurant. This piece contained vocab most students would have been unfamiliar with words such as “stairwell” and “awning”. So a bit more difficult than in previous years. The extract was also excessively long and unbelievably boring, holding very little relevance for those students who aren’t middle aged German ladies madly in love with workaholic Greek waiters. From a linguistic perspective this was challenging in parts and from a literary perspective it was just awful! The questions were fairly basic until the infamous question 4 which asked for indications as to the Greek man not having space in his life for the German lady who had come to visit him…..?
Text 2 was an equally potent cure for insomnia, being an article about a Swiss chef who roams the foothills of the Alps in search of ingredients for his dishes. While more accessible than the first piece again it contained some obscure words such as “hay-soup”. The questions weren’t as bad as the article itself and most students would have done well here.
Applied Grammar: This question caused quite an upset as the two elements asked, filling in prepositions and converting indirect to direct speech would have been unfamiliar to most students. This was so unusual that I don’t recall having ever done an exercise on it.
The two written production questions were fairly manageable, however there was very little room for those students with pre-learned material on the Olympics as sport played only a minor role in the letter and none in the Auserung. (Don’t know how to do Umlauts! If anyone does please tell me!)
The Listening Comprehension was certainly the fastest I’ve ever heard, requiring native or near-native fluency to keep up with it! However for those who kept pace the items were quite accessible, with material on schools/film and concerts plus the usual news items. So that’s my lot, best of luck to everyone with their next few exams!
Leaving Certificate candidates who took the Higher Level paper endured a challenging morning, with a paper that was described as ‘difficult’ by some. Countless students described the first comprehension as ‘long and extremely testing’ in parts, when compared to recent years. The section examining grammar had not appeared in an astounding ten years. Students were requested to amend five sentences from ‘indirect speech’ to ‘direct speech’, this assignment would have been unfamiliar to many students, and was allegedly ‘slightly off putting’ for some. The written section required students to ‘think in their feet’ rather than simply regurgitate what they had learned. There was no opportunity for pre-prepared responses. Some of the topics would have challenged the most capable of students according to some, and required specific vocabulary.
The ordinary level exam was topical, covering the environment school and travel. Although the tasks in the letter were more challenging than recent years, and some of the vocabulary needed for comprehensions was difficult.
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