Junior Cert German: Challenging listening comprehensions

Higher Level examination paper described by teachers as ‘approachable’ desipite tricky listening comprehension


German students found this year’s listening comprehension quite challenging, teachers have said.

“The general feeling was that the aural section required quite a lot of information,” said Louise Dillon-Reeves, president of German Teachers Association of Ireland, and a teacher at Knockbeg College, Carlow. “One of my colleagues said it was a little bit muffled - although I didn’t think that myself - but it did require a lot of detail.”

Stephen Heffernan, a German teacher at Kilkenny College, said that the higher level paper was “an appropriate swansong” for the final year of the old course. “There was something for everyone with the odd question here and there to challenge the more able pupil, and candidates should be happy overall.”

Ms Dillon-Reeves said that the reading comprehensions were all approachable. “But section D, which looks at features of the language, may have been more complicated than in previous years, and even native German speakers felt that it was difficult for third year students.”

The comprehension questions were generally fine, although students may have difficulty with the words “klettern” (to climb) and the words “Hochzeitstag” (wedding day), and “Ehering” (wedding ring), said Ms Reeves.

“The letter section was very fair,” she added. “They spoke about going on a school trip, a school uniform and a blog. However, a question asking if they like writing and why, may have been a curveball for some.”

The ordinary level paper was fair, said Ms Dillon-Reeves. “There were no major problems with the reading comprehension, and most of the vocabulary that they learned would have come up. Again, however, the verb “klettern” would have been a challenge.”

Mr Heffernan said that there is uncertainty around what to expect in the written paper next year. “With the introduction of a new common level course, it’s difficult to tell whether they will change much.”


You are in Interlaken in Switzerland visiting your exchange partner. Leave a note for him/her and include the following information:

* You have gone to the chemist

* You have a cold

* You did not sleep well last night

* You are going to bed early today

(Write approximately 25 – 30 words)