Institute of Education Study Notes

Monday, 21st October, 2019

exam times institute of education
Sean Delap

Supplement 8 Junior Cert Maths

Exam Times – Junior Cert History

By Sean Delap

‘How much should I write for each section?’

‘In what order should I answer questions on the paper?’

Sean Delap, History teacher at The Institute of Education for the past 24 years, answers these questions and offers students preparing for the Junior Cert History exam some key advice…

Top Tips

  • Keep a close eye on the time.  Higher level students should ensure that you leave enough time to complete question six of the paper as this question caries one third of the total marks.  It would be a good idea not to leave this question to the end.
  • Buy a set of past exam papers or download them from and become familiar with the layout of the paper and the amount of time required for each question. Use the past papers as a revision guide.  Remember many questions on your Junior Cert history paper will most likely have appeared on previous papers.
  • Remain active when studying by practicing questions from the past papers. If you cannot answer a particular question, ask your teacher or consult your textbook.
  • Attempt as many short questions as you can in question 3. You will get marks for the ten best answers and have a great chance of gaining full marks in this question.
  • When answering questions from past papers and in the exam, use the mark allocations as a guide.  A question carrying 2 to 4 marks requires a short answer .One or two sentences will do.  A four to eight mark question would require a short paragraph.  A longer paragraph or several paragraphs would be needed for a question carrying ten marks or more. A good rule of thumb here is to divide the marks allotted for the question by 2 and this should equal the amount of points needed in your answer e.g. a 10 mark question = 5 points. A point equals one relevant historical fact

Common Errors

  • Students sometimes write too much background information on the lives of well-known historical figures. For instance if you were asked to write about a religious reformer  (Junior Cert 2013) you will get very little marks for information relating to where and when Martin Luther was born or what his father did for a living etc.  It’s important that you concentrate on that part of his life when he began to call for changes in the way the church was being run at that time. The examiner will expect to see information relating to the sale of indulgences, the 95 Theses, the Diet of Worms etc.
  • Another common mistake in question 4 is that students fail to understand the difference between the life of a monk living in early Christian Ireland and that of a monk during medieval times.
  • Students sometimes panic when under pressure.  If you find that a question is difficult in a particular section, give it your best shot and move on.  Don’t waste valuable time trying to work out an answer.  Concentrate on the positive elements of the paper and who knows but that you may even enjoy the experience!

Full Supplement

Full Supplement Download

Published on Thursday, 13th March, this supplement focuses on Junior Certificate History.

Download History Supplement (2.91 MB)


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About Sean Delap

A UCD graduate in History and Irish, Séan has been teaching History at The Institute of Education since 1990. He has participated in a number of radio and television documentaries, most recently on the television series Éalú produced for TG4. Séan gives talks regularly on behalf of the History Teachers Association of Ireland to students and teachers and has lectured at conferences on the methodology of teaching both Leaving and Junior Certificate History as well as teaching History through Irish. He is the author of Leaving and Junior Certificate textbooks: Nation States and International Relations 1871- 1920: Dictatorship and Democracy 1920- 1945; Division and Realignment in Europe, 1945- 1992 and European Retreat from Empire and the Aftermath, 1945- 1990. He is also the co-author of Junior Certificate textbook Uncovering History.

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