Every year, thousands of students across the Republic of Ireland start studying and getting ready for the Junior Cycle exam and all of the different subjects. From past papers to note-taking tips, in Superprof we have given you some resources you can use to make the most out of your school and tutoring classes in hopes that you feel more ready than ever.
That said, with the new junior cert curriculum and what many have come to know as the new junior cycle, students might still feel a bit concerned about acing the examinations that will inevitably come their way. But, with some grinds and tricks up your sleeve, we will make sure you are as prepared as possible to ace the junior cycle English assessment.
What Are the Times and Dates for the Junior Cycle English Examination?
The exam takes place in June each year but, you must also complete two Classroom-Based Assessments (CBAs) which will be reported on separately in your Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) which is released a month or so after Junior Certificate results. CBA1 is an Oral Assessment submitted at the end of the Second Year and CBA2 is a Written Assessment submitted around Halloween of the third year.
- Timing: the exam is 120 minutes long and is marked out of 180 so you should spend no more than 3 minutes on a 5-marker, or 10 minutes on a 30-mark question, etc. Additional time should be used to improve answers.
Things No One Tells You About the Junior Cert English
Academic achievement can be a huge stressor for many students who spend years of their life trying to get the best possible results in the hopes that it will all grant them a better future both in school and in the professional world. This is why a lot of students and parents alike see the Junior Cycle examination as a big milestone in the academic career.
Nevertheless, while it is a big moment for post-primary students, there are many myths surrounding Junior Cert English. These are some of the things no one actually tells you about the JCT beforehand:
- People generally stress too much about it and it's not necessarily worth it. While being well prepared and feeling confident is important, it is only the first test of your academic career and a trial for years to come. It's important to train yourself to tackle these exams with a confident and positive attitude. In 2 to 3 years you'll be sitting the Leaving Cert, which could prove a bit more difficult so you can use the Junior Cert as a practice ground for it.
- You are not alone. As previously stated, there are thousands of students across Ireland preparing for this test and you can lean on the student community if you are feeling overwhelmed. Also, older students who have already gone through this can also help you get a little perspective. They can tell you how they managed to conquer the Junior Cert, just like every other Irish student.
- It affects some people more than others. Some people breeze through it while others don't. Make sure you are having open conversations about this with your peers and don't judge anyone. If you are the one struggling, don't judge yourself and make sure you look for support.
- What happens if it doesn't go well? Remember that it’s not the end of the world. If, on the day of the results, you don’t get what you're hoping for you shouldn't worry. You can move on from these results and work hard on getting the results you want for the Leaving Cert.
- There are resources like private tutors at Superprof who you can lean on for help and advice and who will not only act as a teacher but can also provide you with tips on taking notes, studying efficiently, and coping with pre-exam nerves.
Tips and Tricks for the Irish Junior Cert
On the day of the examination, you will come face to face with 90% of your total grade and you need to make sure you have as much knowledge as possible on the subjects that you studied. That said, knowledge of the subject is only one part of the exam, you also need to understand how to work around the different sections and questions to the best of your abilities. Below you will find some tips and tricks to responding to the different types of materials included in the Junior Cycle English Examination:
- Responding to Stimulus Material: Stimulus Material is material you haven’t seen before. The old paper used to call this content "Unseen Poetry, Drama, and Fiction section". In the case of the new junior cert, you could also be asked about a poster, a website, a radio typescript, a brochure, a film... So you need to be ready to tackle these questions!
- The idea is to see if your English language skills go beyond learning off quotes from your studied texts and how much creativity and spontaneity you have while expressing yourself.
- It is hard to study for this section but you can practice responding to texts you haven’t seen before.
- Responding to Studied Texts: Studied Texts are the plays, films, short stories, novels, and poems you’ve been studying since your first or second year. You’ll probably have about two plays, short stories or novels, a single film, and several poems, for which you have loads of notes.
- A good tip is to try to answer these first since you already know everything about them and it will be easier for you.
- You need to show your knowledge of these texts and materials.
- This section is easy to study for but you need to devote time to it.
- You can make mind-maps on various topics within your studied texts.
- Do questions from old and sample papers over and over to make sure that you’ve considered all areas of the text.
- Writing for a Variety of Purposes: from narrative to argumentative and everywhere in between, you will be expected to write in any style. You could be asked to write a story, script, speech... so you need to know the
necessary formats for each. Here are some tips to ace this material:
- Watch out for spelling and grammar.
- Read lots between now and the exam to expand your vocabulary and give you some ideas.
- When taking the exam, spend one minute of your time designing a mind map or plan for your piece.
- Practice with past papers, sample papers, homework assignments.
On the other hand, there are other ways that you can consider practicing and getting ready for the examination which includes:
- Understand the balance: try not to write too little or too much since you can be penalised for both. The new exam has assigned writing space but tries not to neglect other sections just because you have loads to write in one.
- Only have the essentials in the exam hall: have a few pens on you - but only blue or black. No pencil.
- Respect the barcodes on the exam: your exam will be scanned for marking, so the barcode is needed.
- Order of answering: try to go with reading the Stimulus Material questions first (don't answer them) so you can be thinking about it in the back of your mind as you tackle the studied text questions after. Then, proceed to answer the stimuli, and finally, the writing questions.
- Ask for help. If you feel lost, you can ask the supervisor for help with understanding a question if you need to.
- About CBAs and Assessment Tasks: work hard on your CBAs and Assessment Tasks since they will account for part of your final marks.
Go to our English media guide for students.
What Is the Junior Cert English Marking Scheme?
Subjects for the Junior Cycle are normally studied at ordinary or higher level, although Irish and mathematics can also be studied at foundation level. However, under the Junior Cycle, English, Irish and Maths are studied at either ordinary or higher level and all new subject specifications are at common level.
In the case of the Junior Cert English Marking Scheme, these are the examination grades:
- 85 or over equals an A
- 70 but less than 85 equals a B
- 55 but less than 70 equals a C
- 40 but less than 55 equals a D
- 25 but less than 40 equals an E
- 10 but less than 25 equals an F
- Less than 10 means there is No grade
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Study for the New Junior Cert with Superprof
Are you still feeling nervous or need a little extra boost of confidence to tackle the new Junior Cert? A private tutor could be the answer to your prayers! In Superprof we have a wide network of private tutors who specialize in different subjects and could be the perfect aid for these moments of academic trials.
Go into our web and connect with a private English tutor in Ireland to get help with Junior Cycle English!
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