Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment
CCEA Curriculum Monitoring Programme 2018-19

Frequently Asked Questions

Have the Contexts for Learning remained the same?

No. There are now two themes at AS level and at A2. The AS themes are: Relationships, and Culture and Lifestyle. The A2 themes are: Young People in Society, and Our Place in a Changing World.

Does the AS presentation have to be related to Irish-speaking countries or communities?

Yes, because the presentation is marked according to the AO4 performance descriptor, which requires knowledge of different cultural aspects of Irish-speaking countries or communities. Students present their chosen topic in this context.

At AS level, are the reading comprehension and translation based on the same theme?


What grammar and structures are required for AS?

Refer to the AS and A Level Grammar and Structures List in Appendix 5 in the specification for details of the requirements.

Does the specification include any language essay at AS level?

No. Students now do their extended writing on a set film or literary text.

Do AS students have to study a set literary text in Irish?

No. They may opt to study a set film.

Do students have to answer on all three bullet points set out in the question?

Yes, in order to access the top bands for AO2 and AO4. Students answering this question should follow the bullet points and use them as a framework for their answer.

For the study of culture, historical period or region, does this have to be based on Ireland or can it be based on any Irish-speaking country or community?

It can be based on any Irish-speaking country or community.

Does the visiting examiner ask students questions on the cultural topic they have chosen for Unit A2 1?

The visiting examiner will have received in advance each student’s Summary Sheet detailing the themes they wish to discuss. This part of the speaking test is a discussion and so, the examiner engages students in a discussion and helps to draw out their thoughts, opinions and arguments on their chosen topic.

For the Unit A2 1 introduction and discussion, do students have access to a preparation sheet with a set number of words to help them?


At A2, are the reading comprehension and translation based on the same theme?


At A2, do students have to summarise into Irish?

No. They read a passage in Irish and summarise it in English.

Are students penalised if they exceed the word limit in the summary?

The word count is set at 100 words, however you will not be penalised for responses which fall within a tolerance of 10%: between 90 and 110 words. Refer to the Mark Scheme which states [in Bands 4 and 5] 'within tolerance of the word limit.

Are the AS and A2 exams each worth 50% of the total A level?

No. The AS is worth 40% and the A2 60%.

Are the questions in the listening comprehension in Irish or in English at both AS level and A2?

The questions on the first recording are in Irish, and the questions on the second recording are in English at both AS level and at A2.

Is there a clear difference between the level of knowledge and understanding required for the extended writing at AS level and at A2?

At AS level, students must show evidence of understanding of the question and knowledge of the work. At A2, students must also show evidence of analysis.

Is there an upper limit in the word count for Unit AS 3: Extended Writing and Unit A2 2: Extended Writing?

No. However, overlong essays risk not meeting AO2 and AO3.

Is there a vocabulary list for AS and A2?