Featured Advice
What are your interests?



Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.

Subject Choice for Leaving Cert...

logo imagelogo image


Ed Zone

These courses enable learners to gain recognition for the achievement of considerable knowledge in a range of subject areas, as for example in the Leaving Certificate and one-year Post Leaving Certificate courses.

Courses may be academic or practical in focus, and awards that are recognised by the National Framework of Qualifications may lead to progression opportunities higher up in the framework.

Employment Opportunities
The majority of people with certificates at this level are well prepared for occupations that involve using their knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include office secretary, customer service representatives, special needs assistant, retail salespersons and childcare workers.

Level on the National Framework of Qualifications
2 Years
Duration of course
Grades Awarded

Marks Distribution 2018:
Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 5618 students who sat the Higher Level German exam in 2018.

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 2319 students who sat the Ordinary Level German exam in 2018.

In brief... header image

German as a Leaving Certificate subject aims to bring students closer to fluency in the German language, as well as developing a good knowledge of literature, culture, geography, and national history to provide a context for communication.

Germany plays a major role in the European context, and after English, German is the most spoken language in the European Union and the tenth most spoken language in the world. German offers significant career value for the years ahead.

Why Study this?header image

What kind of student might German suit?

  • Anyone with an interest in German culture, history, and language.
  • Students who are considering working in Germany, Austria, or international relations in the future.
  • Students who can already speak German and want easy points.


  • It is highly advisable that students spend some time in a country where the target language is spoken.
  • Students who have shown an aptitude in German at Junior Certificate Level are encouraged to continue with it in Leaving Cert.

Some schools require all their Leaving Certificate students to take an additional language, besides English and Irish. If students have the option to choose whether or not to take a third language, they should consider it seriously, as it may determine the choices available to them when it comes to applying for college.

For example, a third language is a requirement of certain departments in the NUI colleges -- University College Cork (UCC), University College Dublin (UCD), NUI Galway and NUI Maynooth. 

Departments in NUI colleges that require students to have a language include Arts, Humanities, Law, Social Science, Commerce, Medicine and Health Sciences, and some other degrees. A third language is not required for engineering or agriculture in these colleges.

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and the University of Limerick require students to have one language - either Irish or a modern language, while Dublin City University (DCU) and the Institutes of Technology require students to pass Maths and English or Irish.

Videos & Interviews header image

Studying German - German

Laura Glendon - German

Sharon Carty - German

Fergal Donnelly - German and French

Read what others say about their Leaving Cert. Subject Choices...
Secondary School Teacher - Mary Joyce
Mary Joyce, Department of Education and SkillsIn school I studied Geography, German, History and Economics along with the three core subjects. Geography is the only subject that has influenced by career as it was my elective subject in college and I am now teaching it along with PE. You need to consider the subject choices available with PE in your chosen course and college as it will be affected by your chosen subjects at leaving cert. 
  go to interview...
SAP - Laura Glendon
Laura Glendon, Languages ConnectOutside of the mandatory subjects, I studied Business, Economics, Agri Science and German. They were 100% great help in getting where I am today. Agri Science was quite a random choice, but I thought it was but an interesting one, and I loved it. If was to go back and take the Leaving Cert again I would probably choose all the same subjects! 
  go to interview...
Probationer Garda - Peter Clifford
Peter Clifford, An Garda Sí­ochánaI did Geography, Business studies and German in school. To be honest these subjects didn’t have an influence as I had always wanted to be a Garda. At least now I can speak a few words of German if needed. 
  go to interview...
Pharmacist - Rachel Berry
Rachel Berry, Health Service Executive

For GCSE I studied Maths, Additional Maths, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Geography, English Language and Literature and German.

For A-Level I took Maths, Chemistry and Biology. I chose these subjects primarily because I was good at them and also because I enjoyed them. The school I attended was very academic and I always knew my future career would involve science of some description so the choices I made were logical.

I do regret not continuing on with art, although at the time I wasn't sure I could spare the time to commit to an extra subject that wasn't really going to come in useful. I guess you just have to weigh up costs and benefits. I found it very helpful to have a good grasp of statistics and pure maths as these topics came up quite alot during the pharmacy degree.

If you are thinking of taking a degree in pharmacy make sure you look at the admission requirements in good time as they can be quite specific and I know the grades are increasing every year so you need to be sure you are capable of making the grades.

  go to interview...
Solicitor  - Niamh Cacciato
Niamh Cacciato, Languages ConnectI chose two languages in school- French and German. I had the choice of German or Art and Music. Most people chose Art and Music and there was only one class out of six classes of first year doing two languages. I believe that doing two languages improved my proficiency in language in general and my ability to learn new vocabulary and grasp new concepts.

I realised I was good at working out how to express myself in French and German and I always wanted to learn new words and phrases and this led me to then choose languages as two of my three subjects for an Arts Degree at third level. I knew that I would like to do French at university and then when I learnt that Italian was on offer I thought why not try something new! I also knew that Italian was similar to French as they are both Latin-based languages and I could guess some of the Italian vocabulary from my knowledge of French. 
  go to interview...
Computer Programmer - Jason Ruane
Jason Ruane, Intel

In secondary school I took Physics and Chemistry since I loved science. I also took Business Organisation but that was for the life skills it teaches rather than an intrinsic desire. I would gladly have enjoyed doing all the science subjects, to the complete detriment of all others but in hind-sight I am glad I took a subject such as Biz. Org. as it gave a rounding aspect to my secondary schooling.

I would have liked to have done Technical Drawing possibly but had to make a choice. I was only mediocre in German and Irish but again am glad I did them for at least secondary school as it challenged me and I did not get too narrowly focused on the technical subjects (there was plenty of time for that in third-level). In hindsight I realise that Maths was more important than I imagined and the two science subjects stood me in good stead. The choices I made for the subject selection was made by my passion for the sciences. Luckily I was afforded this leeway as the points for my intended course were not particularly high at the time.

  go to interview...
Engineer - Process - Kerrie Horan
Kerrie Horan, Intel

Subjects I look were Chemistry, Technical Drawing, Business Studies and German for my Leaving Cert.  All of which I have used since and believe it or not business aspects including accounting are an integral part of engineering

I would say that Physics and Applied Maths would have come in very useful as it was tough entering an Engineering Degree without having either of these.

  go to interview...
Opera Singer - Sharon Carty
Sharon Carty, Languages ConnectMy advice if you're uncertain about choosing subjects is to choose things you're interested in, rather than what you think will be good for your career. A broad education will serve you really well not only in terms of college options, but also can enrich your life outside of school and work. I have a huge interest in astronomy and loved studying physics in school, and although I'd never have had the talent in Maths to study it at 3rd level or have a career in it, it meant I can really enjoy reading popular science books and keep up with what's going on in space exploration, as a hobby. For Leaving Certificate I studied English, Irish, Maths, Physics, Music, Biology, German and Classical Studies. Looking back, the subjects I did (specifically English, Music, Classics and German) meant that I was well-equipped with a lot of background knowledge that was helpful in my career as a singer, in terms of literature, language and musical training. Without having studied Music at 2nd level, with the wonderful teacher I had, I am 100% certain I wouldn't be a singer today. 
  go to interview...
Corporate Accountant - Gail Sterio
Gail Sterio, McDonald's

I took German, Biology, Accounting and Business Studies along with English, Irish & Maths. I think it is very difficult to choose subjects in school. It feels like the world is on your shoulders and that this choice will have a huge impact on your future career.

The reality these days is that people change and mature at different stages in their life. Many people I know are not working in the area that they studied for in College - let alone school.

In hindsight - I think it is important to study what you are good at as this will enable you to get the points you need for your desired college course. The college course normally does not assume prior knowledge in these subjects and will start with the basics.

  go to interview...
Parliamentary Assistant - Kevin Keary
Kevin Keary, EU CareersI chose a good variety of subjects at school- I did History, Biology, Geography, German and of course English, Irish and Maths.  
  go to interview...

Course Overview header image

Leaving Certificate German aims:

  • To introduce the students to German as a living and vibrant method of communication thus helping them to appreciate a culture other than their own.
  • To enable the students to acquire the necessary communicative skills that will allow them to take full part in classroom activities in German, participate in everyday transactions and interactions, extract information from and to interpret the various mass media communications, make further study and or possible career paths through the medium of the German language a realistic option.
  • To achieve the above aims the students must be facilitated to develop a critical awareness of how meaning is organised and conveyed by the structures and vocabulary of the German language and to develop an understanding of language in general.

The aim is to continue and develop the aspects and aims of the Junior Cycle Programme and to develop skills in the following four areas leading to proficiency in all areas of the German language:

  • Oral/speaking
  • Written
  • Aural/listening
  • Reading

Course Contentheader image

Modern languages require students to be proficient in the following skills:

Oral Proficiency in a range of personal, social, cultural and topical areas.

Aural Proficiency The ability to listen to and answer questions on a wide variety of auditory stimuli.

Comprehension Proficiency The students must be able to read, interpret, extract and manipulate texts ranging from literature to contemporary journalism and answer questions in the target language.

Written Production Proficiency The student must be able to react to a given stimulus in grammatically correct everyday German. These stimuli can take the form of an informal or formal letter, a reaction to a picture, photo, chart, etc. or expressing one’s own opinion on a syllabus-related topic.

A wide variety of themes are covered, for example:

  • Family    
  • School    
  • Hobbies    
  • Sport    
  • Current affairs

Grammar and Cultural Awareness are essential elements of these courses.

Exam Structure header image

The examination will assess a candidate’s ability to:

  1. Understand the spoken language
  2. Understand the written language
  3. Communicate in the spoken language
  4. Communicate in the written language
Mark Allocation for Leaving Certificate German:

Section    Higher Level Ordinary Level
Speaking 25%   20%
Listening Comprehension 20% 25% 
Reading Comprehension 30% 40% 
Writing 25%  15%

Leaving Certificate Exam Tips:

The German paper is a fair paper which gives scope to students at all levels to achieve their maximum potential. The paper will test both the students’ proficiency in the language as well as skills in answering technique.

Students should be very familiar with the layout of the exam paper, being aware of the skills required in each section. It is essential to practise answering a variety of questions that may occur in the exam.

Have a definite time plan made out to complete all sections on the day and practice within the time limits given. In reviews of past German exams, time was a critical factor on the higher paper for students chasing the top grades.

The reading comprehension section carries most marks in both ordinary and higher level papers. Be mindful that:

  • Accuracy is important
  • Marks are deducted for grammatical errors
  • Read the questions carefully before you start to read passage
  • Underline what you are being asked in each question and highlight where answers can be found
  • If the question does not specify length of answer a safe bet is to assume that at least three main points are needed
  • Students who practise comprehensions on a regular basis build up their skills and gain high marks. You can access all the marking schemes through the resources section of this page.

The German oral examination consists of a fifteen minute interview where students are examined in three different sections:

German Interview with examiner, presentation of project or picture sequence and role play.

At higher level the exam is worth 25% and at ordinary 20%. The secret for success is in your preparation. Criteria used to assess oral competence include:

  • Range of vocabulary
  • Range of expression
  • Awareness and use of grammar
  • Independence from examiner support
  • Appropriateness
  • Fluency
  • Pronunciation

The oral exam takes place in March/April of 6th year.  15 mins – German

Aural/Listening Exam (40 mins) This exam takes place after the written examination in June. It involves listening to a variety of dialogues and news items in the target language and then answering in English. One section on the German paper requires answers in German.

Written Exam (2½ hours) At Higher Level Reading Comprehension involves a literary and a journalistic reading text, followed by questions testing comprehension, language awareness, applied grammar and the student’s ability to give an opinion on a topic raised.

The written section consists of a formal or informal letter or an essay-type response to a picture.

At Ordinary Level students do one literary and two journalistic comprehensions with similar exercises to Higher Level. Written exercises include letters, telling a story from a given series of pictures, writing a dialogue.

Career Possibilities header image

Germany is one of Ireland's leading trading partners and Irish companies need professionals with a good knowledge of German. Germany is also the world's largest outbound market and is the third most important market for visitors to the Ireland. As such, the language would be very useful in a range of career areas:

Tourism, Hospitality, Food and Wine, Sales and Marketing, Teaching, Engineering, Finance, Technology and the Public Service. Careers in the Institutions of the European Union are also available - explore Irish Voices: EU Careers here.

Career Guidance