Eight Tips for Preparing for the Leaving Certificate Irish Oral Exam

Written by Ellen Curtin February, 2022

Oral exam season is approaching quickly and there is no denying that the formal setting of the oral exams can be stress-inducing for parents and students alike. The Irish oral is worth 40% of the overall Irish mark in the Leaving Certificate so it’s important to get your prep right to score those high marks. Struggling to prepare? This post is full of practical steps you can take to excel in your oral. Preparing for your Irish oral exam doesn't have to be a nightmare, there are lots of little steps you can take to achieve the marks you desire.

Eight Tips for Preparing for the Leaving Certificate Irish Oral Exam

1. Listen to Irish

Authentic, natural Irish can be heard and enjoyed across the internet. Listen to Raidió na Gaeltachta and Raidió na Life or take a look at TG4 to acquire accuracy in spoken Irish. There are many valuable audio files on Béaltriail gan Stró! on ranganna.com as well. You can sample this e-learning resource for free here. Listen to accurate versions of poetry and enrich your language skills with useful phrases relating to the ‘Sraith Pictiúr’.

2. Speak in Irish as much as you can

Most people who undertake the Leaving Certificate have to learn Irish. Therefore, you definitely know someone with whom you can practice speaking Irish. Talk to your brothers, sisters and parents and don't forget to use the language with your school friends as well, the practice will help them too.

3. Take advantage of online resources

There are lots of great resources available online for those interested in improving their Irish. If you’re on the hunt for vocabulary that will enhance your oral exam, we recommend using focloir.ie and teanglann.ie. These two sites also have sound files which will be a great help to you as you improve your pronunciation of the language ahead of the oral exam.

4. Practice the welcoming

They say that a good start is half the work and that is certainly the case when it comes to your oral Irish exam. If you manage to get your interview off to a strong start, not only will you impress the examiner from the onset but more importantly you will put yourself at ease.

5. Own the conversation

Students often overlook the amount of control they have over how the conversation in their oral develops. The same topics emerge in the oral exams year after year. Try to prepare the following topics ahead of your exam and steer the conversation in the direction of one of the topics which you have prepared.

• My background and area
• My family and home
• School
• Hobbies
• Social problems

Gaelchultúr provides comprehensive study notes focusing on each of these topics to all our students who register for our Leaving Certificate Irish oral prep course, Béaltriail gan Stró!.

6. The Conditional Tense

The conditional tense is not as terrifying as you think, but it’s still worth your while to practice it regularly. A question in the conditional tense is almost certainly going to arise on the day. Try preparing sample answers to these questions:

‘Cad a dhéanfá dá mbeifeá féin i do Thaoiseach?’
‘What would you do if you were Taoiseach?’

‘Cad a dhéanfá dá mbuafá an crannchur náisiúnta?’
‘What would you do if you won the national lottery?’

Sample answers to these questions are available on the preparatory e-learning resource on ranganna.com and in the intensive oral exam preparation course ‘Béaltriail gan Stró!’.

7. Register for a prep course

Gaelchultúr regularly runs a weekend preparatory course called Béaltriail gan Stró!. The course focuses on providing Leaving Certificate students with the content and knowledge needed to excel in their oral examination. Developed by education and language experts, this course equips students with the material, tools and confidence necessary to demonstrate their language skills effectively during the oral exam.

This course focuses on the topics covered in the oral exam. Students will have the opportunity to improve their speaking skills in a virtual classroom with a friendly, helpful atmosphere. The ‘Sraith Pictiúr’ is studied in detail and participants are given comprehensive notes so that they can describe them effectively on the day of the examination.

In addition to the live sessions, participants will have access to an e-learning programme for the oral exam on ranganna.com for six months. This program is worth €95 and is packed with interactive exercises, comprehensive notes and audio files focusing on this year's 'Sraith Pictiúr’ and the main topics that come up in the oral exam.

If you think that you’d benefit from more practice and support ahead of the Leaving Cert oral exam, enroll for this prep course now to develop your language skills and achieve the highest marks in the oral test. -

8. Take your time

Stay calm and listen carefully to the question. Pay attention to the verb the examiner uses at the beginning of the question and try to use the same verb in the answer. For example:

An imríonn tú aon spórt?
Imrím cispheil agus peil Ghaelach.
Cad a dhéanann tú ag an deireadh seachtaine?
Déanaim go leor rudaí spéisiúla ag an deireadh seachtaine.

The examiner understands that you are nervous so take your time to understand and answer the questions. And if you’re completely lost you can always resort to saying ‘Tá brón orm, Ní thuigim an cheist.’ / ‘I’m sorry I don’t understand the question’.

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