Junior Cert English Personal Essay

Do plenty of practice comprehensions over the course of the year, starting now.

Here’s how: 1) Remember you need to do question A and question B from different comprehensions.

This is particularly useful for a Shakespeare question. A test to see how well you understand your Shakespeare is to write out the sequence of the text. It’s all in the quotes in the Shakespeare question. However, rather than learning the entire play word for word, focus on learning quotes which could work in many answers.One of the key factors in making your choice is identifying which style will suit you best.The main options are a debating piece, a personal essay, a short story or a magazine article. One of the questions you need to ask yourself is: who is my audience?Which one you choose will depend on your choices on the day and which question you are best at.The best way to find this out, like everything else, is practice!For example, if you are writing an article, you should probably not refer to yourself as your audience is the magazine’s readership, who are looking for objectivity.However, if you go for the personal essay you are invited to give your own perspective, so the tone is different.Examples of rewriting a question: (i) In your opinion, what is the appeal of the play Hamlet for a 21st-century audience? This will ensure that events are clear in your mind and you can start looking at Hamlet like any other play. These “multi-quotes” should be all you need to construct a quality answer.Support the points you make by reference to the text. (ii) “We admire Hamlet as much for his weaknesses as for his strengths.” Write a response to this view of the character of Hamlet, supporting your points by reference to the text. Examples of Hamlet multi-quotes: (i) “A little more than kin, and less than kind.” This can be used to describe: Hamlet’s mindset; Hamlet’s relationship with Claudius; Claudius himself; and family as a theme. This is something you will develop over time, and by June you should feel comfortable with it.CILLIAN FAHY, who got straight As in his Leaving Cert, made headlines when he sold his exam notes on e Bay for €3,000.In this continuing series he shares his study experience with readers (for free), today offering advice to fifth- and sixth-year students on Leaving Cert English PAPER 1 Essay and comprehension Comprehension: can’t understand it?

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