By Sinead Caslin Cregg
English Paper One was a lovely, enjoyable paper with lots of choice and flexibility for students. Students should be very pleased with the exam questions, which were phrased nicely and offered lots of scope for both creativity and discursive flair. The theme of Paper One 2022 was “Powerful Voices” and the texts in the Comprehension section were fair and accessible. TEXT 1 featured an article about the American poet Amanda Gorman and posed no major difficulties in terms of language and comprehension. The twenty mark question for all three texts asked students to discuss four elements / features of the language, which was a lovely, do-able question.
The Question B tasks were varied and encouraged students to engage with the topics of poetry, music and books, respectively. A “podcast” and an “editorial” featured as options here, both of which are new to the paper. The podcast invited students to “reflect on the importance of music in your life” and was a lovely option in my opinion. Students also had the choice of writing an “open letter” on “the study of poetry” and whether it should be an “optional or compulsory element of Leaving Certificate English.”
The range of essays offered in the 2022 Composing Section was excellent. There was wonderful scope and variety in the seven essay titles offered to students this year. There were two short story options and two personal essay options, as well as an “article” on “fashion choices”, a “speech” about the “social and cultural values” and “perception of Ireland” and a “discursive essay” on “powerful voices”. The personal essays are always a popular choice with students and the two titles here offered plenty of creative scope. Candidates were invited to choose / reflect on “items or objects that have become faithful companions in your life” or “reflect on the value of engaging in all kinds of learning”. The essay titles overall were very fair and creatively stimulating. There was also plenty of opportunity for students of all abilities to showcase their command of English and written expression. Overall, English Paper One was a very fair, enjoyable paper with no major surprises.