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. As Germany starts to play a major role in the wider European context, German as a language is becoming ever more important in the lives of young Europeans in offering career opportunities that will be available in the years ahead.

Course Overview

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.

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

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

Course Content

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

The examination will assess a candidate’s ability to:

  • Understand the spoken language
  • Understand the written language
  • Communicate in the spoken language
  • Communicate in the written language

Mark Allocation

                                                 Higher Level       Ordinary Level

  • Speaking                                        25%                      20%
  • Listening Comprehension           20%                      25%
  • Reading Comprehension             30%                      40%
  • Writing                                            25%                      15%

The Oral Exam

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
This 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

(2 ½ 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

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

  • Engineering
  • Finance
  • Technology
  • Tourism
  • Hospitality
  • Food and Wine
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Teaching
  • Careers in the European Union