Exam Review 2023 – English Paper 2

By Yeats College English teacher Ms. Sinead Caslin Cregg

Students can now bid farewell to Leaving Cert English as they have Paper Two behind them. It was an enjoyable paper that any well-prepared student should be happy with.

There were some tricky questions with challenging phrasing, but once students gave themselves time to pause and compose their thoughts, they will have done well.

In “Macbeth”, there was a lovely question on the “dramatic impact” of “Lady Macbeth and the Witches” in the play. Lady Macbeth was hotly tipped this year so her appearance on the paper will have pleased a lot of students. The other “Macbeth” option was trickier and asked about “Macbeth’s unstable and tragic identity” and the “ambiguities and complexities in his character”.

In the comparative study, the Theme or Issue question was challenging, asking about “ethical (moral) questions” in the texts. This required students to pause, reflect, and think critically about their response.

In Prescribed poetry, there was lovely variety in the questions; no Elizabeth Bishop this year, but Derek Mahon, Patrick Kavanagh and Paula Meehan all appeared as expected.

Overall, English Paper Two rewarded critical thinking over rote learning and was an enjoyable, fair paper.