Tag Archives: leaving

Attention all LC’s – read this!

Everything on this site is pretty po-faced but if you really want to impress go for the tongue-in-cheek, ‘it’s all a big pile of stinky-poo Ted’ approach.

(I was going to say ‘big pile of shite’ but like all writers I must be aware of my target audence and I don’t want to injure your delicate sensibilities with my coarse language).

Anyway, check out this article, not just because it’s bloody funny but also because the style of writing is what you should aspire to.

Enjoy: http://www.eoinbutler.com/home/those-last-minute-leaving-cert-revision-tips-in-brief/

Sample newspaper article



Victory seemed unlikely. Mount Saint Michael were two sets down and St. Leo’s certainly had the upper hand in the third set, dominating 9 points to 2. Each time St. Leo’s scored, they pounded the ground in unison, further intimidating an already shaky Claremorris team. So how, in these circumstances, did they snatch victory from the jaws of almost certain defeat?

The first set seemed to suggest two teams who were equally matched. Michael’s fought point for point against a Leo’s team whose defence was almost impenetrable, yet Edel Nolan managed to hit home some impressive spikes. However, as the set drew to a close, they found themselves unable to finish the job and St Leo’s stormed into the second set with a 25-22 win in the first set under their belt.

This is where it all went wrong for Claremorris. Having lost the first set, their nerves took over and their difficulty settling into the match was evident in a plethora of unforced errors, despite excellent positioning by Nikki Hanley and impact substitutions by Lisa McGreal and Jackie Prendergast. They lost the second set 25-19 and hope began to fade for their 200+ supporters.

The third set began in similar fashion but sensing that they now had nothing to lose – except of course the All-Ireland Title – the team lifted their game tremendously, aided by the now deafening cries of their desperate supporters, led by Lisa Brett and Chloe Hughes. Strategic use of time outs by coach Fionnghuala King saw the girls finally settle into the match. She no doubt reminded them of their team mantra – no matter how badly things seem to be going ‘don’t lose your marbles’. Stephanie Mellet had a great run of serves and made a stunning save at this crucial point in the set. Aisling Croghan made some unbelievable hits from the wings and Edel Nolan shone as the driving force behind Mount St Michael’s incredible comeback. They won the third set 25-16 and St Leo’s game began to fall apart.

A fear of losing now defined their play, and they frequently only used two of their three hits, eager to simply get the ball across the net. Meanwhile, Claremorris grew in confidence, scoring a resounding victory in the fourth set 25-13.

As it finally dawned that Claremorris could actually win this match, the excitement and tension in the arena reached fever pitch, and the daddies on the sideline (Gerry Croghan & Con Nolan) riled up the crowd, ably assisted by vice-principal Margaret Burke. However, St Leo’s finally realised that it was still all to play for and once again their defence, led by Sinead Ruth, became near-impossible to break down. Edel Nolan made three excellent spikes in a row only to find each and every one returned. Long rallies defined the 5th and final set (first to 15 points but the team must win by 2 points) and every time Claremorris inched ahead St Leo’s reeled them in again. Finally, however, they reached 14 – 13 and faced their first match point. Sinead Croghan, whose strength was such a defining feature of her play up to this point, unfortunately hit the serve long and it was back to stalemate. Two more match points followed, but Mount St Michael couldn’t seem to finish Leo’s off. At last, with 2 sets all and 17-16 on the scoreboard, Nikki Hanley served, raced forward to set the ball and Edel Nolan spiked the girls to the sweetest victory of their lives. No wonder, then, she was named Most Valuable Player of the match.

Final score = St Leo’s v’s Mount Saint Michael

25-22, 25-19, 16-25, 13-25, 16-18

Coach: Ms Fionnghuala King

Team: Aisling Croghan (captain)

Sinead Croghan

Edel Nolan (MVP)

Nikki Hanley

April Higgins

Stephanie Mellet

Stephanie Delaney

Jackie Prendergast

Lisa McGreal

Rebecca Kearns

Grainne McNieve

Katie McCormack

Question B advice

What do I need to think about before I start writing?

Imagine your answer is a SUITCASE – the examiner is looking for certain TAGS.

T = Topic. Stick to the topic. Have plenty of ideas. Identify problems but also offer solutions.

A = Audience. Who are you writing for? What kind of language is appropriate? (formal/informal)

G = Genre. Are you writing a diary/report/speech etc…? What layout is expected?

S = Style. What techniques will you use? Emphatic words, vivid imagery, address audience etc…?

If these elements are there then you should have everything you need in your answer.

You cannot answer QA & QB on the same text.

If you do you lose 25% of the marks for Paper 1.

What can I be asked to write?

Report / memo


Letter (may be based on the text)




Diary entries (may be based on the text)




How much should I write? 1½ – 2pgs

How long do I have? 45Mins

Do I need to read the text the QB follows?

Often you are asked to base your answer on the information in the text so you will have to read it quickly to get ideas.

The examiners will reward ‘creative modeling’.

This means you can use the ideas in the text BUT you cannot just re-write sentences word-for-word and pretend you’ve come up with them yourself (this is plagiarism.)

They are expecting you to model the same style – if the writer used quotes, you should too (but different ones), if the writer included an anecdote you should do (but your own anecdote…). You must add your own personality & imagination. Don’t steal the ideas, challenge them, add something new, model a similar style but different content. 

Six Rules of Essay Writing

  1. Plan x 2 = brainstorm ideas for the topic, organise them, then make a list of techniques you’ll use.
  2. Dramatic opening paragraph – it’s really important to grab the reader’s attention. Use a quote, or a series of rhetorical questions, a list, or a vivid description. Say something shocking or provocative. However you do it, make the reader feel eager to read on.
  3. Variety of ideas. A good way to come up with ideas when you’re stuck is to ask yourself to apply the idea to ME / EUROPE / WORLD  PAST / PRESENT / FUTURE
  4. Variety of techniques. Use your techniques plan. As you use them cross them off. Some people write well naturally & don’t need this but lots of people need reminding that it’s not just what you say that matters, it’s also how you say it!
  5. Flow.  Connecting phrases create a flow and transition from one idea to the next.
  6. Dramatic final paragraph – it’s really important to leave the reader feeling satisfied. Use a quote, or a series of rhetorical questions, a list, or a vivid description. Say something shocking or provocative. However you do it, make the reader sad that your essay is over. Some writers like to come full circle & begin & end with the same idea.

It’s hard to say exactly how long your essay should be. A brilliant debate 3 pages  long will do better than a boring 7 page article. A guideline is between 3&half & 5 pages but quality is always more important than quantity! Choose your essay title based on the topic but also on the genre – which style of writing suits you best???

Essay Topics

It is impossible to predict what will appear in the essay section. However, certain topics have come up more than once since the new course began in 2000.

  • TEENAGERS (responsibilities / stress / culture of youth) x 4
  • THE PAST X 5 (memory was the theme in 2012)
  • HEROES X 2 + Debate: we live in an “unheroic” era
  • TRUTH / LIES  x 2
  • CLOTHES x 2 (how they reveal your personality)
  • MUSIC x 2

Other topics that have only appeared once include tv & radio, celebrating ordinary people, tourist attractions, urban vs rural lifestyles, family, sport, performance, travel, laws, gossip, discrimination, smoking ban, mobile phones, technology, time, marvels in the world today, glimpsed moments.

Feelings come up almost every year but they always name a specific one – so far they’ve included: freedom, indecision, daydreams, imagination, hope, wonder and the ones that came up twice listed above (happiness, love, truth).

Some topics that haven’t appeared yet but that MIGHT come up (& I’m just guessing here!) include:
THE PRESENT (the importance of living in the moment) –  *I WAS RIGHT!!! This came up in 2012! (Write about having “all the time in the world”) & 2013 (“the everyday treadmill & the gilded promises of life”).

Some feelings that haven’t appeared yet but that MIGHT come up (& again I’m just guessing here!) include:

You could collect ideas for topics without having to write the entire essay. See below!

TOPIC: _________________






VIVID IMAGERY: Picture the scene….

ANECDOTE: (don’t forget the hyperbole)