Leaving Cert English Higher Paper

Paper 1 Do's & Don'ts Download PDF
Paper 2 Advanced Comparative Study KNOW THE MODES Download PDF
Marking Scheme for Higher and Ordinary Level leaving Cert English Download PDF
Poetry Larkin ambulances,
Larkin explosion, Larkin wedding


There are TWO papers.

Total mark per paper  - 200 marks

Time allowed per paper - 2 hours 50 minutes.

Note; The official time printed on the Sample Paper is 2 ˝ hours but the Department allows 20 minutes extra for English in order to recognise the great amount of writing involved.

Make sure you use it.


There are TWO sections.

  1. Comprehending (100 marks)
  2.  Composing       (100 marks)

Note;Three separate tasks are examined on Paper 1

  • Comprehension - Part A    (50 marks)
  • Functional Writing - Part B (50 marks)
  • Composing                      (100 marks)


There are THREE sections

1.     The  Single Text             (60 marks)

2.     The Comparative Study    (70 marks)

3.     Poetry                            (70 marks)

As yet the Department has not published a MARKING SHEME for the SAMPLE PAPER

You will get it as soon as we do - so watch this space

But you should know the following;

Paper 1

You are expected to read Paper One fully i.e. read all the texts as you would a magazine.

These texts are centred on a single theme e.g. OUR WORLD

They will give you material for the compositions which are also based around this central theme.

You will actually be rewarded if you creatively use material from the texts in your composition!

Think about REGISTER and the LANGUAGE AREAS (i.e. information, argument, persuasion etc.) in Composition Writing.

For instance, your writing for a "popular magazine" (Composition 3) will be a bit different to that used in a "serious newspaper or journal" (Composition 1).

Paper 2

Know your STUDIED TEXT well - be clear on CHARACTER, THEMES and IMAGERY - above all, learn some apt quotes. They make it obvious that you know the text and this impresses the examiner.


You DON'T need to know all the poems of a particular poet equally well. Try to cover a range of his/her poetry - but concentrate on the ones that affected you most and be able to explain HOW and WHY they affected you (even if you hated them!)


Beware of studying the texts as separate works. The skill here is what it says - Comparative - so your job is to find links between the three texts and show how they are either alike or different.

All will be explained....

Basic Know-How for The Comparative Study

FACT! - preparing for the Comparative is very different to preparing for the Single Text.

You do not need to make close studies of the Comparative texts - this is a waste of time. After you have read the text go back and select KEY MOMENTS.

Here is an outline of the differences. Make sure you try to put them into practice.


Read text closely Read for story
Trace Character development Search for key moments
Know Themes Know the modes
Plot and subplot Revist the key moments
Language and Imagery Put the similarities and differences together
Role of minor characters Find links