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Subject Choice

Leaving Certificate

Spanish

Career Zone
QQI
NFQ Level
Duration
2 Years

Summary

Studying Spanish - Spanish
Studying Spanish - Spanish
Shane Sargeant - French and Spanish
Shane Sargeant - French and Spanish
Megan McEvoy - Spanish
Megan McEvoy - Spanish

Spanish as a Leaving Cert subject aims to bring students closer to fluency in the Spanish language, as well as developing a good knowledge of literature, culture, and geography to provide a context for communication. As the second most widely spoken native language, and most widely studied language on the planet, Spanish has widespread use in international business. It also makes travel to Spain, Mexico, and most of South America more accessible.

What kind of Student would Spanish Suit?

  • Anyone with an interest in Spanish culture, history, and language.
  • Students interested in travelling the world.
  • Students who are considering working in Spain (or other Hispanic countries) or international relations in the future.

Recommendations/Tips

Some schools require all their Leaving Certificate students to take a language. If students have the option to choose whether or not to take a 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 a number of departments in the NUI colleges -- University College Cork (UCC), University College Dublin (UCD), NUI Galway and NUI Maynooth. The phrase, third language, refers to a language other than English and Irish, which, it is presumed, most students already study.

Departments in NUI colleges that require students to have a language include or Arts, Humanties, 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.

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 5646 students who sat the Higher Level Spanish exam in 2019.

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 2065 students who sat the Ordinary Level Spanish exam in 2019.

 

Explore Marks Distribution for all Subjects:

Course Overview

Spanish follows a common syllabus framework for the teaching and examining of modern languages in the Leaving Certificate. The syllabus aims to develop learners’ communicative skills in Spanish, 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

This syllabus aims to lead every pupil towards four basic outcomes as a result of the experience of modern language learning in the classroom:

(a) a communicative competence in the target language
(b) awareness about language and communication
(c) an understanding of how to go about learning a foreign language
(d) a level of cultural awareness

1. To foster in learners such communicative skills in the target language as will enable them to:

  • take a full part in classroom activities conducted in the target language;
  • participate in normal, everyday transactions and interactions, both spoken and written, both at home and abroad;
  • extract information and derive enjoyment from the mass media and the more accessible literature of the target language community;
  • consider as a realistic option the possibility of pursuing leisure activities, further study and/or career opportunities through the medium of the target language.

2. To give students a critical awareness of how meaning is organised and conveyed by the structures and vocabulary of the target language, and thus to contribute to their understanding of the workings of human language in general.

3. To help learners develop strategies for effective language learning.

4. To equip learners with a broad acquaintance with the cultural, social and political complexion of contexts in which the target language is a normal medium of communication and thus to help raise their awareness of cultural, social and political diversity generally.

Exam Structure

Leaving Certificate Exam Tips:

(1) Oral Examination (25%): The Spanish oral exam consists of two parts, personal questions and role-plays and typically last between 12 and 15 minutes depending on the student.

Part 1: The examiner will use personal questions to assess knowledge of tenses in the following order: present, past and future and/or conditional tenses. Make sure you respond in the correct tense. If you make a grammatical mistake or mispronounce something don't just keep talking. If you realise your mistake say sorry (Lo siento) and then what you meant to say. You will less likely be penalised for mistakes.

Part 2: This comes after the personal questions when the examiner asks a student one role-play from five prepared. Have fun with this and try avoid monotony, let the examiner know that you are feeling what you are saying by using intonation in your speech and eye contact. Don't spend the whole time looking at the sheet, rather try to enjoy it and leave a positive impression.

(2) Listening Examination (20%): To do well in this, the most important thing is to be prepared. A segment on the weather forecast always appears. Make this an area you know inside out. If you know the vocabularly it's easy marks. Do the listening comprehensions of previous years, this will help you get used to the process. Learning as much vocabulary as possible is always useful to all parts of the Spanish exam.

(3) Written exam (55%): You will need a lot of vocabulary for the written exam. Make a note of the words that come up frequently and learn them off. Also, learn all the tenses and become familiar with the endings of different verbs, especially the irregular ones.

In this exam, you will be asked to look within a comprehension piece for a Spanish sentence/phrase/word that is similar to a phrase they have given you. Have a look at the phrase and the tense it is written in - the phrase you are looking for in the text will normally be in the same tense so this will narrow down your search.

Career Possibilities

Related career opportunities are broad and include business, the IT industry, teaching, translation, the hospitality industry, sales,marketing, tourism and careers in the EU.

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?

This subject is essential for entry into some Third Level courses. Click on the link below to view courses that require, or may require this subject for entry:

Spanish

Interviews

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

Damien Mason, Mechanical Engineer

The subjects which I had control of choosing and which influenced my career path were:

Secondary School: Technical Graphics, Construction Studies, Engineering, Physics. These were an excellent base for my degree course in Mechanical Engineering in University.

University: Mechanical Engineering - choose fluids stream instead of solids stream half way through my degree course. In my current career, choosing the fluids stream has not had any significant bearing on my ability to perform my job.

If I had the choice in Secondary School, I would have chosen Spanish as a language to study. This allows a lot of extra opportunities to travel globally.

If I had the opportunity to change my choices in University, I would have done a years post grad in buisness studies and accounting after my degree in mechanical engineering. I belive this would have given me a competitive advantage in aspiring to a career in management.

... View Full Interview

Elaine Steiro, Franchisee

I took Art, Spanish, Business Studies & Home Economics.

I would say that they really didn't influence my career path, however, I did learn from my extra curricular activities that I liked working in groups and I could see how hard work paid off and was very fulfilling.

I would say that I would have liked more guidance and should have asked for more direction from people who could have pointed out my strengths to me earlier...

... View Full Interview

Megan McEvoy, Dancer
Aside from English, Irish and maths I did music, French, art and chemistry. I did business studies until the Junior Cert but dropped it then. Although I didn't enjoy business studies I really wish I had kept it on as had I known that I'd be self-employed in the future it would have helped me greatly in terms of tax, loans, self-marketing and starting a business.

Essentially I am now running a small business by being self-employed. While I didn't use French and ended up living in Spain for 4 years I do feel having had a second language in school made picking up Spanish easier for me and I was really willing to learn it. Music of course has helped greatly in my career as there is nothing worse than a dancer who has no sense of musicality. Music has always played a big part in my life and many teachers have commented on my strong sense of musicality through dance.

... View Full Interview

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