Junior Cert religion is quite a difficult subject to do well in. It can often be seen as unpredictable and very difficult to know what to study. Many may not take it seriously as a subject, but why not when it is so easy to achieve a high grade in? So, here at JC-Learn, we have found the solution for you.
Study tips and techniques
For preparation for the junior cert religion exam, you should:
- Write shorter version of the notes we have – include all the main, important details (this is used just before exam)
- Read over our notes – read and study about ten chapters every week in the months leading up to the exam
- Test yourself regularly on the definitions in each chapter
- Focus your main study on Christianity and one other world religion (Islam – this is the easiest), as this will cover you for a lot of the long questions in the exam
- Attempt a past paper once a week for the year (especially the written expression section)
Study timetable –
- Include about ten chapters in a weekly study timetable, which lets you study roughly one of the six sections every two weeks in the months leading up to the exam
- Ensure that you revise a world religion very regularly (Islam), and this will help you hugely for the exam
Junior Cert Religion Sections
- This section is one of the most straightforward to study, as it mainly involves basic definitions, general areas within the topic of communities (roles etc.), basics on branches within Christianity, basics on the five world religions and other organisations in Christianity.
- You will be fine as long as you know the definitions for short questions. As long as you revise each chapter thoroughly and learn the ability of relating the topic of communities to world religions, you should feel confident for long questions on this section.
- This section includes the history of the Christian religion, the life of Jesus, how the Bible was written and modern Christian communities.
- You must have a strong understanding of what life was like for the earliest Christians, and you must know some miracles performed by Jesus, along with the major events of his life (birth, last supper, Pentecost, ascension and resurrection).
- You need to study how/why the Bible was written, who wrote it etc., along with life of Christians today and modern Christian communities.
- For this section, I advise to learn basic details on Judaism, but to really focus your study on the religion of Islam.
- Learn everything about the founding story, beliefs and rituals, sacred text/worship/place, prayer, pilgrimage, festivals etc. associated with Islam.
- The long and short questions on the exam will always offer a choice as to which world religion to use in your answer, and Islam is the easiest world religion to answer the questions with.
Question of faith:
- This section of the course includes chapters based on religion throughout the ages, the meaning of life, the stages of faith, prayer and worship, world views, and science & religion.
- You must have a strong understanding of what religion has been like throughout the years and how it has changed, various questions on the meaning of life, the stages of faith for everyone, the various views people have on religion (eg atheism, agnosticism etc.), and how science and religion differ and intertwine.
Celebration of faith:
- There are five main parts within this section – the world of ritual (sacred places, pilgrimages etc.), the experience of worship (worship, ritual etc.), worship as response to mystery, sign and symbol (sign & symbol, icons, sacraments etc.), and prayer (vocal and silent prayer).
- The long question in the exam on this section will relate to above topics with a world religion of your choice – again I advise to relate the topics to Islam, or possibly Christianity, whatever is easier for you.
- There are five areas within morality – introduction to morality (actions & consequences, relationships etc.), sources of morality (codes of behaviour, commandments etc.), growing morality (developing morality, conscience etc.), religious morality in action (moral decisions, social justice, respect for life etc.), law and morality.
- The long questions can be quite difficult on this section, but as long as you understand the general concept of morality and learn the various definitions, you should be very comfortable.
Religion Exam Timing and Guidelines
Junior Cert Religion Exam layout & marking scheme:
- Section 1 – Short Questions (50 marks): This section includes 20 short questions on the whole course, and you have to answer ten of the twenty (5 marks per short question).
- Section 2 – Picture Questions (30 marks): There are four sets of questions here, and you have to answer three of them (10 marks per picture question), all based on the whole general course in general.
- Section 3 – Comprehension (50 marks): This question has a comprehension which is associated with one of the six sections, and you must first answer one or two long questions on the comprehension, then one or two on the topic in general which the comprehension is based on.
- Section 4 – Long Questions (200 marks): This section has six sets of long questions on the six sections within the course. You must do four of the six and each long question is worth 50 marks.
- Section 5 – Essay section (70 marks): This section has six essay questions on the six sections of the course, and you must complete one – I advise to do the question 3 essay, and focus your essay on world religion of your choice (Islam), as it is often the easiest.
Junior Cert Religion Exam Order & tips:
- I strongly advise to simply complete this exam in the order in which it is laid out on the paper (section 1, 2 … etc.)
- If there is any questions you are not sure about, just leave it and come back to it in the time left over at the end.
- I advise to do about 15 out of the 20 short questions (you only need to do ten, but just to be safe do 15)
- I also advise to do only 4 of the 6 long questions (you must do only 4 anyway), as you should not have the time to do a fifth if you have done your first four to the best ability – if you have enough time, do a fifth, but only when you have checked over your first four long questions and ensured they are perfect).
Junior Cert Religion Timing:
- Section 1 – 5 minutes
- Section 2 -10 minutes
- Section 3 – 15 minutes
- Section 4 – 50 minutes (12 and a half minutes per long question)
- Section 5 – 30 minutes
- 10 minutes left over to check over everything