Are you a post-primary student on the way to take your junior cycle English assessment? Do you need help finding resources to study and teachers or tutors to support you on your academic quest?

Truth be told, a lot of students who are in the midst of their junior cycle years often struggle to understand what it is that they need to do in order to ace the examinations and gather all the knowledge and documents necessary to get the best possible mark.

But not all is lost, getting good marks in junior cert English is a matter of understanding how the system works, staying focused on your goals and being consistent with your studies.

Keep reading to find out more about the new system, some differences between the old and the new junior cert, how to access past papers and how to contact a private tutor to help you with your studies.

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The Differences Between the Old JCT and the New Junior Cert

The old JCT has been slowly replaced by the new junior cert over the past years, with an ultimate goal of completion by the year 2022. In essence, it aims for the same thing: to prepare students and young people for the next phase of their academic life and give them all the tools they need to succeed in a post-secondary and eventually professional setting.

This happened because the Government of Ireland decided to review the post-primary curriculum due to changes in national and international teaching and learning strategies and policies. Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Department of Education & Skills produced research and studies on what changes needed to be made to education in Ireland.

The changes have happened slowly and have become more palpable for students and teachers alike who have had to adapt to this new system. But, what are the main changes that have happened overtime?

Initially, the government had considered getting read of the Junior Certificate but eventually landed on not scrapping it but instead, introducing a brand new syllabus in English for students starting First Year of secondary school in September 2014, with only 90% of the test going for a written exam.

The other 10% is an assessment task taken during the third year. This is a reflection of the learning from the second Classroom-based Assessment (CBA). The first CBA takes place at the end of the 2nd Year, which is an oral presentation. Students have 3 weeks to choose a topic and have to present it. The second CBA takes place at Christmas of 3rd Year. It is called the Collection of Texts in which a student will choose 4 written pieces throughout the 3 years from 4 different genres and will re-draft them. The CBA is graded using word descriptors and appears alongside the find grade on the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement. The final written exam at higher and ordinary levels now only consists of a two-hour paper.

Do you need tips to write your essay? Learn how to take good notes.

Find JC English Past Papers

studying online
You can find resources online. Source: Pexels

According to their Twitter account, "The policy of the State Examinations Commission (SEC) is to publish sample final examination papers at the outset of the school year (ie., Sept/Oct period) prior to the first-ever final examination the following June #jcreform."

Taking into account the considerable complexity of the examinations, you can find a lot of examples of past papers online and can even ask your school or directly in jct.ie to get more information so your studying process is easier.

This is an example of the structure of a JC English Past Paper:

The examination papers consist of three sections:

  • Section A Reading Comprehension 70 marks 6 Questions
  • Section B Writing for a Variety of Purposes 50 marks 2 Questions
  • Section C Responding Imaginatively 60 marks 6 Questions

It is important to note that in some exams, the questions do not all carry equal marks. The number of marks for each question is stated at the top of the question. The exam will then tell you how much time you should spend on each section. Also, you need to keep in mind that when answering on studied material, you must use texts prescribed for examination in
your years of study.

Section A could include a variety of examples focused on Media Studies, Literature and Poetry, which are there for an analysis exercise and to make sure you have a good level of written comprehension. Other examples could also include letters and screenplays.

Section B is Writing For a Variety of Purposes. As part of this section, you will need to go back to your studies and talk about a subject or media that you studied previously in order to analyse it on your own. This section is more open ended and relies on your expression and how well you express your thoughts on paper.

Section C Responding Imaginatively – Poetry is all about getting creative answers out of students and making sure they put their thinking caps on. 'How do you imagine the person in this poem feels?,' they might ask. You might also be asked to talk about pieces of content or media that you have studied over the past years and to answer questions about them in a creative manner.

The structure of the examination may vary but it is an excellent way for you to get familiarized with formats and ways of thinking around specific questions. Make sure to check for these resources as they will be great allies before your exam!

Check out these English resources! Head to our literature guide!

Study for the Junior Cycle English with Superprof

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Find a private tutor! Source: Pexels

The junior cycle English assessment can be a daunting moment in some students' lives but with the right resources, direction and help, it can become less of a burden and more of an exciting learning path.

Truth be told, having the past papers from jct.ie to study is a great first step, since it will give you some guidance on what type of questions you will encounter. That said, you need someone to guide you on being a problem solver and acing the questions and, while teachers in a regular school environment can help you with this, the best way to get personalized attention to study is with a private tutor. And this is where Superprof comes in.

Superprof is a platform where we help students and private tutors on different subjects connect. Through our system, people from across Ireland are able to find the right private teacher on a variety of subjects and junior cycle English is not the exception. No matter where in Ireland you are located, there are thousands of great tutors specializing in helping students be as prepared as possible for this stage of their academic lives.

What are the benefits of hiring a private tutor? There are many:

  1. Tutors provide one-on-one engagement that teachers in a regular classroom don't have the bandwidth to.
  2. Tutors provide a different perspective to the junior cert curriculum.
  3. Tutors help build self-confidence and self-esteem by helping students reach their goals and empowering them to feel more capable in a school setting.
  4. Tutors provide customized learning, which is not the case in a regular classroom where teachers have to teach everything on the syllabus to everyone.
  5. Tutors can adapt the format to the student's needs, be it online or through webcam, once or many times a week, for however long they need.

As you can see, a private tutor is a great resource to help students reach their goals, especially around junior cert English. But, how to go about it?

Well, Superprof is a rather friendly platform where all you need to do is search for the particular subject you are looking for and the area where you live. Once the results pop up, your job is to look at the teachers' profiles thoroughly and make sure that you get the best possible tutor for your academic requirements.

You will find very diverse profiles: teachers specialising in literature, others more focused on pedagogy and getting you where you need to be as a test-taker, others who are more focused on the media side of the test. But worry not, we are sure you will find the right match.

In order to assure that you get the right person to help you with the Irish junior cert, these are some questions you can ask the tutors you contact:

  • What is your experience as a private tutor?
  • What area of the English cert do you specialise in?
  • Do you give online classes or only in-person?
  • What is your teaching method?

You should also look at other students' reviews since they are a great way for you to get a real idea of what taking classes with a certain tutor is like.

If you are interested, most of our tutors also offer the first lesson for free, since they use it as a sort of interview for both parties. This is an excellent way to get to know each other, set goals and establish how you will reach the objectives for your classes.

Looking for English courses for adults? Go to our English media guide for students.

 

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Andrea

Communications consultant and content creator. Foodie, traveller and music lover.