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The Linguistic's interests are usually focused on ideas and information exchange. They tend to like reading a lot, and enjoy discussion about what has been said. Some will want to write about their own ideas and may follow a path towards journalism, story writing or editing. Others will develop skills in other languages, perhaps finding work as a translator or interpreter. Most Linguistic types will enjoy the opportunity to teach or instruct people in a topic they are interested in.

Subject Choice

Leaving Certificate

French

Career Zone
QQI
NFQ Level
Duration
2 Years

Summary

Ciaran MacSamhrain - French
Ciaran MacSamhrain - French
Donal Kennedy - French and Spanish
Donal Kennedy - French and Spanish
Kate Walsh - French
Kate Walsh - French

French as a Leaving Certificate subject aims to bring students closer to fluency in the French language, as well as developing a good knowledge of literature, culture, geography and national history, in order to provide a context for communication. Senior Cycle French builds on the knowledge acquired for the Junior Certificate. 

Why Study French

  • This subject may be a requirement for entry to third level and can be used as a third language for entry to a number of courses. See entry requirements for individual colleges.
  • This subject is a useful foundation for students with an interest in studying French at third level, or considering a career in a French speaking environment or country.

What kind of student would French suit?

  • Anyone with an interest in French culture, history, and language.
  • Students who are considering working in France, Canada, the EU or in the area of international relations in the future.
  • Students who can already speak French and want easy points.

Recommendations/Tips:

  • It is highly advisable that students spend some time in a country where the target language is spoken.
  • Students who have shown an aptitude for French at Junior Certificate level are encouraged to continue with it in Senior Cycle.
  • A third language is an entry requirement of a number of third level colleges and may be a specific requiremnt for certain courses. Always check individual college and course details for current information.

This subject builds skills and knowledge that are particularly useful for careers in the following Career Sectors:

Grades Awarded

Marks Distribution 2019:

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 15654 students who sat the Higher Level French exam in 2019.

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 7707 students who sat the Ordinary Level French exam in 2019.

 

Explore Marks Distribution for all Subjects:

Course Overview

Leaving Certificate French aims to develop learners’ communicative skills in French, to develop their strategies for effective language learning and raise their awareness of cultural, social and political diversity.

Assessment is by means of a written examination, and an aural and oral examination at two levels, ordinary level and higher level.

Course Content

Course content for higher and ordinary levels is similar. However, oral and written skills are particularly important at higher level. A grade 'C' at higher level in the Junior Certificate is usually a minimum requirement for higher level French at Leaving Certificate.

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

Oral/Speaking  
Written  
Aural/Listening  
Reading

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

Mark Allocation for Leaving Certificate French:

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

Leaving Certificate Exam Tips:

  • The key to doing well is practice and individuality. The more reaction essays you write, and comprehension you read, the easier it becomes.
  • Try to get your hands on as many past mock comprehensions as well as doing all the past papers, so you are well trained in the format and question types.
  • After each comprehension make sure it is correct using the marking scheme.
  • Any vocabulary you don't understand should be noted and learned as you will most likely see it again or you will be able to use it in your written work.
  • You should be able to express yourself and talk about different topics - a rich vocabulary is key.
  • Learn five new words every night going to bed and try to recall them in the morning.
  • an extensive knowledge of the different tenses will be needed for all aspects of the French exam.
  • Some people find downloading French CDs/recordings onto their iPod and listening to them regularly very helpful.
  • When preparing for the aural exam, write out answers to common questions, learn these answers and practise saying them aloud so it comes across as natural as possible.

The Oral Exam This takes place in March/April of 6th year. 

13 mins for French -  French Interview with examiner. Students may prepare a document.

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.

Written Exam (2½ hours) Reading Comprehension is worth 30% of total exam at higher level and 40% at ordinary level. There are literary and journalistic passages.

For higher level, the written section involves formal and informal letters, diary entry, message/fax/email, expressing an opinion, and personalised writing.

Career Possibilities

Specific careers in which French is of benefit include: Teaching; Translation; Interpreting; Linguistics; Localisation; Journalism and Media among others.

Career Guidance

Subject Group: Humanities

These subjects explore the ways in which humans live and communicate in the world. Human life is examined by looking at our past, our present and into our future. These subjects help people to express themselves clearly and develop their reasoning ability.

Required for 3rd Level?

A third language, besides English and Irish, is a requirement for entry into a number of third level courses.  For example: Law and French or Business and French in TCD (H3 in French required), International Commerce with French NUIG (H3), European Studies with French in UL (H4) or Business Sudies with French in UL (H4).

Click on the link below to view courses that require, or may require this subject for entry:

French

Interviews

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

Caitriona Jackman, Planetary Scientist

For Leaving Certificate I did the usual English, Irish, Maths, then Physics which I loved, Chemistry which I wasn’t great at (kept breaking stuff in the practicals), French, Geography and Music as an extra. I really enjoyed English actually, and even though a lot of my job involves computer programming and some hard maths and physics, I still rely heavily on my writing skills.

As important as it is to have technical ability in my job, it is still crucial to be able to communicate any results I find. One of the main tasks for me is to write papers for scientific journals, and occasionally to write articles for a more general audience.

My French is also useful because I collaborate with several people from a lab in Paris and they like if I make an effort to speak a bit of French, even though my accent is very embarrassing!

... View Full Interview

Aoife Mc Dermott, Lecturer
In school I took English, Irish, Maths, French, Biology, Economics and Business. The fact that I enjoyed economics in school led me to the choice of my degree.

Luckily by taking what started out as a general degree I was able to figure out that what I liked about economics was being able to pose questions and look for solutions; the critical thinking component, rather than the content was actually the part that appealed most to me.

Through exposure to a variety of subjects in my first year in college I was in a much better position to chose the subjects that I wanted to specialise in.

Choosing to specialise in business and sociology worked well for me; the business component gave me a marketable knowledge base and skill set, while the sociology component encouraged me to think critically and introduced me to research skills.

I wouldn't do anything differently. It was great to be in a course where the classes got smaller as I progressed through, so I got a lot of guidance as I stumbled forward!

Choosing a specialised degree wouldn't have been a good choice for me at the time - I'm still amazed when I think of my friends who knew exactly what they wanted to do as they left school.

The biggest thing I learnt through my degree was that I had developed a skill set that I could use in a variety of ways. Having a degree in a specific area doesn't limit you to that for life!

... View Full Interview

David Kehoe, Chef
Maths, English, French, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Home Economics. All of them influenced my career as I need all of them eg. without maths I couldn't deal with the financial part of the job.

... View Full Interview

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