What is the subject about? 

Leaving Certificate French builds on the knowledge acquired at Junior Cycle. The curriculum focuses on all four skills of language learning : Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. There will also be an emphasis on the sociocultural knowledge of French speaking nations (La Francophonie). 

Curriculum Aims: 

– Undertake the specified grammar and vocabulary topics assigned 

– Develop speaking skills through oral practice in class 

– Develop listening skills by undertaking different listening activities in the target language 

– Encourage reading of real-life texts to improve reading skills and general vocabulary 

– Improve free writing skills by practicing writing exercises 


How is the subject assessed? 

The French course comprises of two components at Higher Level and Ordinary Level: 


I. Written Examination 

The written examination takes place in June and lasts 2 hours and 30 minutes at both Higher and Ordinary Level. 

Breakdown of Leaving Cert French Honours Paper (400 marks)

Aural                                 80 marks                 20%

Comprehensions            120 marks                30%

Written Expressions     100 marks                25%

Oral                                  100 marks                25%

Breakdown of Leaving Cert French Ordinary Paper (400 marks)

Aural                               100 marks           25%

Comprehensions           160 marks          40%

Written Expression       60 marks            15%

Oral                                  80 marks            20%


II. Oral Examination 

Higher Level and Ordinary Level French require students to undertake an Oral Examination. This is a 12 minute conversation with an external examiner on topics relative to the age and interests of students. The themes include: hobbies, daily routine, my house, school as well as more abstract topics such as: social problems, the media and the advantages of language learning. 


Additional Comments 

– It is recommended that a student taking Leaving Certificate French has a general interest in language learning, culture and the arts 

– Each student should have an aptitude and interest language acquisition 

– The learning of a language can be achieved by steady work and is much helped by a period spent in France, if that is possible. A motivated, hard-working student can acquire a high standard of spoken and written French in the 2 years of Senior Cycle 

– Reading French magazines, newspaper articles, listening to audio clips, watching video clips and looking at French websites will expose students to a wide variety of authentic content. 

– In general, a D3 grade in the Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level) in a foreign language is necessary for entry to the colleges in the National University of Ireland (NUI) – UCD, UCC, NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth, Pontifical University Maynooth and the Royal College of Surgeons. Though increasingly there are exceptions to this rule, particularly for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths degrees. 

– Junior Certificate French is compulsory.


Career Opportunities 

– Tourism 

– Media 

– Translator/ Interpreter 

– International Law 

– Education 

– Embassy staff 

– European and Irish Public Service 

– International business 

In all career areas employment prospects are much enhanced for graduates who have a good working knowledge of a European language especially in the post-Brexit era.