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Top Tips for English Paper 1

Top Tips for English Paper 1

Anna Powell

The English paper can feel like such a daunting paper to sit for your Leaving Certificate. English Paper 1 can feel especially daunting as you feel like you don’t have as much pre-learned knowledge to rely on within the exam and it is your very first exam. Below are some tips that you can use to get you through English Paper 1 in 2022.

Section 1 – Comprehending

  •  Read the questions as opposed to the text first in order to choose the question you wish to do for the exam. You get a general sense as to what the text is about by reading the questions. 
  • Don’t overthink your choice of questions. Go with the text that interests you the most and that has questions you believe you will be able to answer to the best. 
  • Take a moment to jot down your answer to each question as you read the text. It can be helpful to highlight pieces of information you wish to use from the text while jotting down a keyword or point beside it. 
  • It is so important to do rough work as you read through your paper or begin your answer as it can be so easy to lose your train of thought as you are brainstorming other ideas while writing some of your answers. 
  • It is so important to pay attention to the time while sitting this paper. Delegate a certain amount of time to rough work, each question and leave time to quickly read over and add to your work. Once your time for a question has run out, leave it and move on to a question. It is more important to attempt every question in an exam than it is to answer some questions fully while leaving other questions blank. This is also where rough work comes in handy as it will help you to come back to the question. 
  • Make sure you structure your answers to each question. It’s very important that your work has paragraphs. You should alway have an introductory paragraph, a paragraph for each of your points and a conclusion. When you are dealing with a body of text such as a comprehension, it is especially important to quote directly from the text

Section 2 – Composing

  • Before the exam, it is important to know which style of writing suits you best. It may be no harm to also have one or two other styles of writing that you are comfortable with in case the question does not suit you. The best way to figure out which style suits you best is to do proactive questions and ask your teacher if they wouldn’t mind correcting it.
  • It is so important to take some time before you begin writing to decide how you are going to tackle your questions. Jot down ideas and decide how they link to answer your question. 
  • Take a moment to pick out significant words in your question that you might be likely to use over and over again in your answer. On your rough work page, make a quick list of as many alternative words that you could use throughout your answer. This will allow you to show off your vocabulary and stop you from repeating the same word over and over. 

There’s no need to be terrified of sitting English Paper 1. Take a deep breath, do your best to answer each question and you will absolutely fly it! Best of luck!

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