Ellen – Higher Level Irish Oral
I was sort of apprehensive going into the exam as a number of people in my year had bad experiences with our examiner, saying she was staring out the window, chipping her nails and yawning in the middle of their exam. Nothing like a bored examiner to throw you off your flow! Luckily I found her to be really positive, nodding and asking thoughtful questions.
For the filíocht I got An Spailpín Fanach, which I was quite sásta with (mainly because I got to say “ach glacfad fees o rí na gcroppies” – what a line!) which put me in a good mood for the rest of it. For Sraith Phictúirs I got Samhradh Iontach, which wasn’t bad at all at all. (I was terrified I would get one of the ones from Sraith Phictuir Parodies on Facebook, and would start uncontrollably giggling in the middle of the exam!) I invested lots of time practicing sraith phictuirs until they were on point, because I knew if they went well I’d be ceart go leor.
By the time the comhrá ginearálta came around, the nathanna deasa and seanfhocail were flowing. The ceisteanna were most of your basic topics, do cheantar, do theaghlach, tar éis na hardteiste, an scoilp, caitheamh aimsire, which I had all prepared. The only things that I had to make up on the spot were a gnáthlá i mo shaol, the advantages of an all girls school and cúpla ceist mar gheall ar student council, which were easy enough if you throw in lots of ‘chun an fhírinne a rá’ and ‘tá fhios agat fhéin’. I managed to avoid some tricky questions when asked if I liked history by saying I also liked languages, which gave me a chance to talk about stádas na gaeilge faoi láthair.
Overall, I was happy with how it went and it gives me a bit of peace of mind now going into the exam in June knowing that’s 40% done. The only sad part is – that might be the last time I speak Irish ever again, nach mór an trua é.
Liam – Higher Level Irish Oral
Now that we’re a few weeks after Irish oral season, we’ve begun to stop worrying about forgetting a séimhiú here or there or forgetting a Módh Choinníollach (trust me, it happens) so here’s some tips and a review of how mine went!
In preparing for the oral, I’d suggest writing out things for the beannú and the sraiths and learning them off. The beannú is 5 easy marks. Basically, it’s just telling the examiner your name, your age and where you’re from. You’d be surprised how easily marks are docked from that. “Cad as duit?” – “Is as Cill Airne DOM”, “Cathain a rugadh thú?” – “Rugadh mé ar an gcéad lá de MHÍ Eanair….”. I was conscious of getting that wrong, considering the amount of times that happened to me in mock orals. The sraiths again are something that are worth learning things off for, simply because of extra friotal that could boost your marks, like díltálaire for ‘Tine sa Teach’ or trasrain síogach for ‘Timpiste’. And it’d be handy so you wouldn’t have to improvise the caint indíreach! For filíocht, getting a sheet with all the poems on it, writing in the phonetics, learn it off and bringing it in. BOOM 35 marks! All I can say for comhrá is practice talking in Irish, a lot!
Apart from praying the Gods of Westeros I didn’t get Fadhbanna ar Saoire and Spailpín, I just went over my notes on the sraiths outside the exam room. Then I was called in. Beannú went grand, I didn’t forget my name or speak in French which is always good! I ended up getting Géibheann and Gaeilge – Seoid Luachmhar, which meant the praying paid off! Comhrá really went from topic to topic but nothing too difficult. Before I knew it, I was getting a “Go raibh maith agat, Slán”
Like everyone, I was overthinking, over analysing and doubting my oral the second the door closed behind me. Did I mess it up? Was my comhrá awful? But at the end of the day, it feels 1000000 times better after doing it! 240 marks, 40% of the Irish course and 45 CAO points done and dusted!
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