Essays For Junior Cert

Posted by Johnnie Bell on

Junior Cert Irish is by no means an easy exam. Problems which arise in this subject include the timing of the exam, and what to actually learn. In this post we will go through the questions in the junior cert Irish paper, exam guidelines and some study advice. If you want the tips on how to really ace this exam, then you must read on and check out JC-Learn now!

Overview of Junior Cert Irish Questions

Paper 1

Listening Test: You must answer questions on the three following sections –

  • Cuid A – includes two people speaking about themselves
  • Cuid B – includes person talking about a notice and a person talking about a piece of news
  • Cuid C – includes two separate conversations between two people

*Try write as much as you can in your answers.Underline the words used for asking questions. Never leave any answer blank.

*If you miss an answer, just skip it and move on, but come back to the answer at the end of the exam and guess the answer. Always stay calm; you will have enough time in this section of the exam.


  • First comprehension has five questions (some have two parts)
  • Second comprehension has five questions (some have two parts)
  • Read all of the questions before reading the piece
  • Do not leave any question unanswered
  • Do not take whole paragraphs as your answer

Grammar section:

  • Must read the piece given and change the five verbs highlighted into the tense stated at the beginning of the question
  • Write out the whole piece again (with new verb answers) just to be sure, as oppose to writing just your answers
  • Must answer five ‘fill in the blank’ questions (this can vary widely, but is based on grammar rules)
  • Never leave any of the ‘fill in the blank’ questions unanswered


  • Three broad options given – essay/story/debate
  • Essay has five options within it, while other two have two options within them – you must choose one of the options from any of the three (essay/story/debate)
  • Always read over your piece, checking for mistakes
  • You should have your piece already prepared – something that can fit any option given

Paper 2


  • Divided into unseen and studied
  • Unseen prós has two sections (A- Buntuiscint and B- Léirthuiscint Ghinearálta) – you must do one question from A, and one from B, then finally one from either A or B, so three questions in total
  • Two options in studied prós – A and B
  • Do the B section, ignore the A as it is much harder (part i in B just asks you to state your studied prós (story) and author, along with emotion, trait etc. asked for, whereas part ii you must show where that emotion/trait etc. is in the prós)


  • Divided into unseen and studied
  • Unseen poetry has two sections (A- Buntuiscint and B- Léirthuiscint Ghinearálta) – you must do one question from A, and one from B, then finally one from either A or B, so three questions in total
  • Two options in studied poetry – A and B
  • Do the B section, ignore the A as it is much harder (part i in B just asks you to state your studied poem and poet, along with emotion, trait etc. asked for, whereas part ii you must show where that emotion/trait etc. is in the poem)

*There are six options for the emotions/traits etc. for the studied prós and poetry answer.


  • Three options – A, B and C
  • Choose one of the options and include all the points asked for
  • Ignore whichever questions asks for ‘letter to the editor’ (usually always C) as it is much harder than a normal letter


Junior Cert Irish Exam Timing & Guidelines

Paper 1

  1. Cluasthuiscint (listening test) = 40 minutes & 40 marks (specific time as you do it as a group)
  2. Léamhthuiscint (comprehensions) = 30 minutes & 40 marks (15 minutes per comprehension)
  3. Trialacha Teanga Comhtheacsula = 15 minutes & 20 marks
  4. Ceapadóireacht (essay/ story/ debate) = 30 minutes & 50 marks

*Leaves 5 minutes to look over exam, as it is 2 hours long.

  • Obviously, you complete the listening test first, as you all do it together.
  • You should then move on to the essay as you should have it all learned (or most of the phrases) so it should not be too difficult, if you have followed our instructions.
  • You should then move on to the two comprehensions, and finally finish with the grammar section, as it is the shortest and most likely the easiest section.

Paper 2

  1. Prós liteartha (short story) = 30 minutes & 30 marks
  2. Filiocht (poetry) = 30 minutes & 30 marks
  3. Litir (letter) = 25 minutes & 30 marks

*Leaves 5 minutes to look over exam, as it is one and a half hours long.

  • You should do the studied prós and poetry questions first, as you should have them learned off, so could have been looking at them just before you came into the exam.
  • You should then move on to thee two unseen sections on prós and poetry.
  • Finally, you should finish with the letter section.

What to do before junior cert Irish exam?

  • Paper 1: You should look over your question words, revise over your studied story (stories) and verb rules.
  • Paper 2: You should revise your studied prós and poetry answers, and revise your letter layout (start & ending).


Junior Cert Irish Study Tips

There are a few ways to study for your junior cert Irish exam. The exam involves two papers and an oral exam (optional).

  • For the written work involved in both papers you should write out notes on all the topics you need to know. You will gradually begin to learn the sections while writing it out.
  • For the oral exam you should constantly be speaking in Irish, in order to feel as comfortable as possible speaking the language during the exam.

Paper 1

This paper begins with a listening test. You must be completing a listening test once a week for the three months coming up to your exam, in order to achieve highly in this section.

  • You may find the listening tests to begin with, but if you keep attempting them, you will soon feel very confident doing them.
  • You must be collecting new vocabulary once a week for the year, so you can understand a lot more during this section.
  • Always attempt very difficult listening tests on a regular basis so you will feel very comfortable when dealing with an easier one in the actual junior cert.

*As long as you have prepared in the above ways, you should feel extremely confident going into the listening test.

You will then move onto the comprehension section. This section just involves two comprehensions, and you must prepare in the following ways:

  • Learn all the words used for asking questions, especially ones that come up regularly in the exam.
  • Be aware of all your grammar rules, as they will apply to your answer.
  • You must learn vocabulary constantly throughout the year in order to do strongly in this section. Collect and learn at least twenty new words every week, as they will improve your ability to understand the comprehensions.

The grammar section is next in the junior cert Irish exam, and here you must do the following:

  • Learn all the regular endings in each of the tenses, including the ‘módh coinníolach’.
  • Learn all the irregular verbs in the four tenses.
  • Learn all the basic grammar rules, such as rules on numbers, prepositions and possession (mo, do etc.).

The essay/story/debate is the last section on paper 1.

  • Here, a huge tip would be to learn two set stories, which you can alter slightly to suit the question (we give two ideal stories in the Irish notes section on JC-Learn).
  • You could learn the stories word for word, or learn all the phrases of the story if that suits you better.
  • The benefits of learning the two set stories includes less stress of learning a variety of stories, and you can also be confident for anything that comes up on the paper, because there has never been an exam year where one of the two stories we give (cluiche peile and ceolchoirm) have not been able to be used as your answer, with slight deviations.

Paper 2

The prós section comes first on this paper, and is divided into unseen and studied prós.

  • For the unseen prós you should learn your question words, various emotion words and how to answer questions that regularly appear (what do you think of the author? etc.).
  • For the studied prós, you should study two prós, and learn one set answer from each one, which can be changed slightly in order to suit whatever emotion/trait etc. is asked for.

The poetry section comes next on the junior cert Irish exam, and this is also divided into unseen and studied poetry.

  • For the unseen poetry you should learn your question words, various emotion words and how to answer questions that regularly appear (what do you think of the poet? etc.).
  • For the studied poetry, you should study two poems, and learn one set answer from each one, which can be changed slightly in order to suit whatever emotion/trait etc. is asked for.

The last section is the letter.

  • You must learn the layout of the letter – address, date, greeting, ending etc.
  • You should learn a set beginning and ending to the letter.
  • Learning vocabulary throughout the year will also benefit towards this section too.

All in all, the junior cert Irish exam is a very difficult one so you must put all your effort into your studies for it. With the help of JC-Learn, there is nothing stopping you from achieving a top grade, so sign up here now!



This is a personal essay (I found it in an old foolscap a few years ago) from when I was in Leaving Cert. It’s not terribly original and the ending just kind of tails off pathetically but rather than fix it up I decided to leave it as I had written it at 17. It should give you a strong sense that there is a real difference between personal essays and short stories.

A Farewell to Adolescence

One of the scariest things about being in Leaving Cert. is realising that you are the oldest pupils in the school. In the first couple of days it gently hits you that the people who once intimidated you so much are all gone. Any intimidation that goes on now is probably your esteemed self complaining (loudly) in the presence of first years about how cheeky and wild they are. At this stage you usually find yourself commenting on the fact that your own year were NEVER that rude and boisterous, and you begin to despair for the youth of today. Where, oh where, did they ever go wrong?

It is about now you realise that you’re beginning to grow up. Talking about the ‘youth of today’ sets off alarm bells in your head because you’ve started to distance yourself from this section of society. You no longer include yourself in the category of ‘teenager’ or ‘adolescent’. Technically, you’ll be a teenager until the end of your nineteenth year, but being as mature and responsible as you are, you handily disregard this fact!

After the first couple of days in Leaving Cert, it not-so-gently whacks you full-in-the-face that other people have also started to regard you as a young adult. Teachers, parents, and adults in general expect you to think and act more responsibly, as befits your new position in society. THAT’s when you discover the role of young adult has as many drawbacks as advantages.

The first problem encountered is that of choosing a career! Of course, you’d always realised that EVENTUALLY you’d have to decide what to do with the rest of your life. But never in your wildest dreams or worst nightmares did you imagine just how difficult it would really be. The careers teacher bombards you with information about points, open days, college prospectus’, CAO-CAS forms, subject choices, apprentices and requirements. It vaguely registers somewhere in the back of your mind that you’ve heard all this before (perhaps in last years careers class???) but you weren’t really listening (at the time) because it was just kind of boring and irrelevant. Right now it’s about as far away from irrelevant as it can possibly be, and your head is in a whirl. Oh, to be back in first year when everything was simple and all anyone seemed to talk about was how wild and cheeky you were!

Added to this burden of deciding what to do with the rest of your life, is the workload of the average Leaving Certificate pupil. You seem to spend at least three hours every night doing homework alone. Wondering when you’ll get around to revising fourth year work is useless – you simply DON’T HAVE THE TIME! Every teacher seems to have some comment to make about how little work you’ve done, and how much you’ve left to cover. Being fulfilled, happy individuals, however, you don’t despair and it never even enters your head how hopeless everything is…

The last (and in my opinion the worst) part of saying farewell to adolescence is that of being responsible for your own destiny. Every teacher and parent in the country seems to adopt the policy of constantly telling you that how you do in the Leaving Certificate Examinations in June is entirely up to you! Teachers remind you daily that they’re not afraid of work and they’re doing the best they can for you. If you don’t pull up your socks and get down to work there’s nothing they can do about it. Their most commonly used phrase abound this time is “I can’t do the work for you!” You almost begin to believe the unspoken, follow-on-statement “I would if I could but I can’t”. Thus the weight of the world merrily thuds down onto your shoulders and this ‘growing-up’ process, this ‘farewell to adolescence’ seems less and less attractive every minute.

All is not doom and gloom however, and whilst the negative side of growing up is alive and well, there is also another, more desirable side blossoming satisfactorily, if you look at the other side of the coin. You begin to notice the extent to which your family life changes. Apart from a few sensitive areas, you’re pretty much a free agent. Your parents no longer freak out if you leave the house for more than half an hour. You don’t ask them any more if you can go out, they ask you if you are! It’s not childish teenage disco’s you’re going to either – it’s pubs and nightclubs. For the lucky minority who are already 18, it’s not even illegal! The smoker who started smoking in national school suddenly realises that he’s no longer breaking the law. You can even legally have sex!

A whole new world of possibility opens out before you, and somehow, life doesn’t seem so bleak anymore. You don’t get asked what age you are going into the cinema! Your mother doesn’t wait until you’ve gone to bed to watch the video she’s hired out – unless of course it’s an “adult” movie of the coloured kind that you don’t really want to watch anyway. And definitely not with your parents! Another advantage is the summer job which provides money, but more importantly, independence. I personally HATE having to ask my parents for money, and if I do, I have to tell them what it’s for. When you’ve got your own money, you can do what you like with it and are answerable to no-one.

All in all, growing up has both advantages and disadvantages. The process is both rewarding and painful, joyous and sad. Luckily this transition must only be experienced once in every lifetime because being “stuck in the middle” is quite an awkward confusing time. Overall my ‘farewell to adolescence’ will be a thankful one. I’ll be saying my goodbyes happily enough!


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