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Geocaching Exam Stumps Irish Pupils

f-minus-868642375461It seems not many Irish teenagers can claim “Ich bin ein geocacher” …

While geocaching is almost a national sport in Germany, the popular hobby’s appearance in a Junior Certificate German exam confused many Irish secondary school students earlier this week.

Muggle struggle: Irish students Cecily Frantzen, Philippa Peters and Katharina Wengenroth relax outside King’s Hospital school in Palmerstown after completing their German exam. Photo: ALAN BETSON/IRISH TIMES

Muggle struggle: Irish students Cecily Frantzen, Philippa Peters and Katharina Wengenroth relax at King’s Hospital school in Palmerstown after completing their German exam. Photo: ALAN BETSON/IRISH TIMES

According to a news report in the Irish Times, “the relatively obscure topic” featured in the written section of “an otherwise fair and straightforward higher-level Junior Cert German paper”.

Teacher Scatha Ní Fhearghail told the newspaper that “although the reading comprehension on geocaching may have been a little off-putting for some, the questions were manageable”.

The Junior Certificate exams are Ireland’s version of the old School Certificate qualification in New Zealand, completed by 14 and 15-year-old students after three years of study.

“In contrast to other exams this year, the paper was not particularly topical. Another reading comprehension exercise involved a tortoise, while a letter-writing task required students to focus on a recent visit to hospital.”

Meanwhile, the easier, ordinary-level German exam was “nice, with clear language, and well pitched for that level,” Ms Ní Fhearghail said. It did not mention geocaching; instead, one reading comprehension section required pupils to answer questions about a boy who helps his mother around the house.

Just over 10,000 Irish students sat this week’s German paper, compared to almost 35,000 who took the French exam.

1 comment

  1. GSV

    Even more surprising when you realise Europe’s first geocache is in Bray, about 20 down the road from Dublin, on the coast. GC43

    Nice walk to that cache too.

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