Submitted by’s director Elizabeth Hayes:

Elizabeth Hayes-Lyne is the owner and founder of which is a website that provides material for the Junior Cert & Leaving Cert French Exams. She is the author of the popular Listening & Oral book, Bonne Chance, published by Gill & Macmillan. She is a member of the Teaching Council of Ireland, and is a State Examiner with the State Examinations Commission. Elizabeth is a French teacher in the CBS, Sexton Street, Limerick.

A lot of students have contacted us via our Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat accounts asking the same question: what are our predictions for the 2016 paper? The first thing that I would always say in response to that question, is that it is impossible to predict! The Department of Education set their papers in accordance with the syllabus requirements, but always bear in mind the interests of young people.

I would always suggest that students learn vocabulary and phrases on a topic-based model.  We have considered the last 10 years of what has actually come up, and have presented this information in a table format. 

french notesBearing the above information in mind, I would suggest that students have sufficient vocabulary to deal with themes such as:








French Notes recently conducted a survey of what students thought might come up, and they came back with the following:

  1. Migrant Crisis
  2. Water Charges
  3. Waste Disposal
  4. Paris Agreement on Climate Change
  5. Obesity
  6. Social Media
  7. Brexit
  8. Homelessness
  9. Terrorism
  10. Doping in Sport.

Personally I do not think that Homelessness will come up, as it is one of the topics that came up in 2015. Terrorism and Conflict were also on the paper. I would not discount something coming up on the Environment, as there has not been a question on this topic since 2009. However, you must read the question carefully, and modify your answer accordingly.

Think strategically of what has been happening in the world in the last year.

  • In late summer and September, the plight of Migrants was all over the media, and continues to be a very grave problem.
  • On the 13th of November 2015, Paris suffered the most horrific terrorist attacks, 11 months on from the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo. 
  • In Brazil, the Zika virus was detected,  and has led to many athletes fearful ahead of the Olympic Games in August.
  • The French capital will host Euro 16 in June.
  • The COP 21 Convention on Climate Change in Paris.
  • Ireland commemorated the watershed events of 1916.
  • 2016 was the 30th Anniversary of the Nuclear disaster in Chernobyl in the Ukraine.
  • Ireland celebrates its first anniversary of the Marriage Referendum.
  • A huge movement in the country, toward Mental Health Awareness.
  • The controversy surrounding Water Charges.

These are just some of the key events which took place in the last 12 months. I am not saying that any of these will appear on the paper, but there is usually a correlation between real life and the Leaving Cert papers!

I would suggest at this point to gather as much vocabulary on the above topics as possible. French  has sample essays available on its website, with each essay written in both English and French. There is a key to the grammatical constructions used, together with a list of important vocabulary.