Leaving Cert 2022: German paper delivers no ‘schlechte surprises’ as students emerge smiling from exam halls


Students who sat their German Leaving Cert Higher Level exam may have been reminded of study time in lockdown – yet many were “smiling” leaving the examination.

ext 2 in the paper focused on studying during lockdown, which students didn’t struggle to recall.

Phrases such as “digital”, “Zoom”, “breakout rooms” and “seminaren” (seminars) as well as Covid-19 related phrases such as “lockdown”, featured on the paper.

Association of Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (ASTI) subject representative, Pamela Conway, from Skerries Community College, north Dublin, said the terms were words “this generation of Leaving Cert students are only too familiar with”.

Students had the option of answering Text 1 – which offered a grammar examination – or Text 2, a brief written piece.

The first option, considered by teachers as the more accessible, dealt with love and loss and asked students to identify two examples of the theme in the text.

“The students were very positive and came out of the examination smiling, so that’s good to see as a teacher that they’re not frustrated,” Ms Conway told Independent.ie.

“In line with other subjects, the modifications to this year’s German paper allowed for more time, more choice and fewer questions to complete.

“The students found it accessible and manageable and all the students I spoke to after the exam were very happy. There were no surprises or deviations from the established patterns of previous Leaving Cert papers.”

Text 1 had usually been “more challenging” than text 2, Ms Conway said. However, this year’s paper “was very straightforward” in comparison to previous occasions.

“Following on from recent trends in Leaving Cert German, the topic of love featured in Text 1, as well as the lives of refugees,” Ms Conway said.

“The written question on refugees after Text 2 would challenge the more able student but the topic is current,” she added.

One section featured the topic of podcasts, another item that’s deemed relatable to students.

Another option was staying at home during lockdown, also reflecting student life during the pandemic.

Letter writing was an option but alternatives included writing about women’s sport and online challenges.

The students were permitted to choose which section to leave out in both written options, allowing them to tailor their answers to their areas of interest.

Two of the listening topics would also be “very relatable to students”, Ms Conway said, as they included questions on blind-booking a holiday and Fridays for Future and climate protests.

Studyclix subject expert and German teacher Lorraine Tuffy, of Jesus and Mary Secondary, Enniscrone, Co Sligo, said: “Students had the option to take either Text 1 and grammar or Text 2 and a brief written piece.

“The first comprehension, perhaps the more accessible of the two on the HL paper, dealt with the themes of love and loss.

“Questions were pitched well and will have been tackled with relative ease by many candidates in today’s exam.

“The German language questions on this text were well pitched and accessible.”

Ms Tuffy said there had been a “welcomed amendment to the style question”, asking students to identify two examples of love and loss in the text – rather than three to four examples.

“This question has often been the most abstract and challenging for Leaving Cert candidates and the subtle edit to the question will undoubtedly have benefited students,” she saidd.

Ms Tuffy said while the language in the first text may have been “off-putting” for some sitting the ordinary paper, “the questions were manageable”.

“Much like the HL paper, candidates had a choice between compound nouns and prepositions in the grammar section,” she added.

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