Leaving Cert Spanish: some students struggle to hear recordings during exam

Calls for use of digital technology to improve sound quality

The higher-level Spanish exam was nice and manageable with plenty of time and choice for candidates, according to teachers.

However, David McArdle, ASTI subject representative and a teacher at De La Salle College in Dundalk, said some students struggled to hear the recording in parts.

“The speakers changed their tone of voice for the sake of it, so it was hard to hear what the answer was,” he said.

"Question six, which is usually a banker on the weather, used different terminology this time. There's a need for the State Examinations Commission to start using digital technologies instead of CDs, because the sound quality is better."


Some students on social media also complained about sound quality issues and said CDs had skipped or cut some sentences or words out.

Otherwise, Mr McArdle said the written paper and the comprehensions were more straightforward than previous years, with topical questions on issues like bees, biodiversity and sport.

Begoña de la Fuente, a Spanish teacher at the Institute of Education, said that the journalistic text on the higher level paper was a nice extract about physical education in schools.

“The questions were straightforward and most students would have prepared vocabulary around this theme. Some students might have found the word ‘ocio’ (meaning leisure) in question two a bit challenging.”

The theme of voluntary work appeared in the long article.

“Again, the questions were clear and straightforward and there were no unpleasant surprises,” said Ms de la Fuente. “Students who know their grammar and had prepared well should have found this section very manageable.”

Ms de la Fuente said that the a letter about mobile phones, a diary about a trip to Valencia and a note about a concert all required familiar and straightforward grammar and vocabulary that students will have been prepared for

She said, however, that students who had prepared the subjunctive would be disappointed that it did not appear in a dialogue question about booking a room in San Sebastian.

The ordinary level paper was straightforward, said Mr McArdle. “Everyone was delighted with it. Students would have the vocabulary to fly the letter and diary entry.”

Try this at home:

- Spanish (higher level)

You are going to a concert in Valencia. Leave a note in Spanish for Carmen including any four of the following points:

Say you are going to the concert on the beach with some friends.

Mention that your favourite group is going to play.

You are going to take the bus with Juan.

Say you will be home before midnight.

You will send her some photos of the concert.