The Exam Paper

Paper 1 - Reading and Directed Writing

Welcome to Reading. It's worth 25% of the overall mark and is marked out of 30. Reading is where you will encounter texts which can be from any one of the four contexts - Employability, Society, Culture or Learning and you will deal with some detailed vocabulary.

You will cover Reading in the same question paper as Directed Writing. The two elements together come to two hours so try to split the time evenly.

Reading for understanding

The key to doing well in this part of the course lies in the title – Reading. Read the introduction and keep reading.

Make sure you know what the context and subject of the text is. The short introduction and clear title will help you think about the context of your answers. You will be given a factual, journalistic text that may have quotes from individuals with a knowledge of the issue being discussed.

Read the text first. See what language you can understand on the first couple of readings, before looking at the questions.

Read the questions carefully, focusing on the most important words

If you are struggling to work out where an answer might be in the text, find the key words in English in the question (usually the verb) and use your dictionary to look up the word in Gaelic. For example if a question says, "Ross talks about the opportunities that university gave him…" Look up the word for opportunity - cothrom and then try and find cothrom or its plural form cothroman, or genitive form a' chothruim/cothruim in the text. This will help you know where to look for the answer. Look to each side of the word, and usually the whole sentence will make up the answer.

When you are reading in class or in preparation for an exam and you have to look up a word in the dictionary always take a note of it at the time, this will help you massively when you encounter the word again in the future.

Everything has an order

In the exam, the paper will tell you roughly which section holds the information you need for the answer. For every 2 to 4 questions it will say, for example, 'Re-read Lines 1-10'. The questions will follow in order throughout the section. Not every part of the section will be assessed, but you should read the whole section in order to make sure you understand the text better. You will never need to go backwards in a section to find an answer.

Re-read your answers

It's a great idea to re-read your answers after you have completed the paper. Ask yourself, do they make sense in English? Remember that in Gaelic the word order is sometimes different from English and that you need to switch words around for it to make sense in the other language.

Watch out for plurals

At Higher, a good grip of plurals and numbers is essential. If the text uses the plural form, for example trioblaidean you will need to write problems/troubles in your answer, otherwise you are likely to miss out on marks, and nobody wants that!

Take notice of numbers

With numbers, pay attention to words and phrases like:

  • mu - about
  • còrr is - more than

and the fact that numbers often split:

  • naoi mìle deug - nineteen thousand
  • còig duine deug - fifteen people.