Public Speaking and Presentation Examinations 2017-21

Syllabus 2017-21

Public speaking and presentation relates to the communication of information or ideas to a group or audience in such a way as to maintain their interest. Speaking to a group, in the context of a job interview, a presentation on a topic or issue, a sales pitch, or a formal speech or debate is increasingly common. Through our syllabus, we wish to encourage candidates to feel comfortable and confident in these situations. The purpose of these examinations is to encourage clear, fluent and expressive speaking on a variety of topics and in a variety of imagined settings.

The standard of presentation and communication skills expected from students taking examinations in Public Speaking and Presentation Skills is considerably higher than that expected in Communication Skills examinations.

Presentations should be well-structured and should be delivered with a full range of communication and vocal skills.

We do NOT expect candidates to read or to have memorised their presentations. If notes or aides mémoire are used, they should be used in such a way as to not cause distraction from the speaker.

Please refer to the section ‘How Irish Board Examiners Assess Candidates’  for detailed guidelines on the criteria used by the Irish Board during the examinations.

To book online click here. Examination fees are available herePlease note that the minimum fee requirement for an examination centre is €400. 


Grade One – Suggested ages: 10 – 12

  1. Give a prepared talk about yourself (one minute)
  2. Tell a tale from folklore in your own words (two minutes)

Grade Two – Suggested ages: 11 – 13

  1. Give a prepared talk about a hobby or sport (one minute)
  2. Bring a book into the examination and describe the story to the examiner OR describe the story of a film you have seen to the examiner (two minutes)

Grade Three – Suggested ages: 12 – 14

  1. Give a prepared talk about an event, visit or holiday (one minute)
  2. Bring a small object or collection into the examination and talk about it to the examiner (two minutes)

Grade Four – Suggested ages: 13 – 15

  1. Give a prepared talk on any aspect of Ireland (two minutes)
  2. Tell an Irish legend in your own words (three minutes)

Grade Five – Suggested ages: 14 – 16

  1. Give a prepared talk on any topic of your choice (two minutes)
  2. Give a prepared eye-witness account of a famous historical event, as if you witnessed it (three minutes)
  3. Give a one minute unprepared talk on one of a selection of topics provided by the examiner in the examination room (one minute will be provided for preparation) followed by a short discussion with the examiner on the topic and/or on speaking in public

Grade Six – Suggested ages: 15 – 17

  1. Give a presentation on yourself and your key achievements to date (two minutes)
  2. Present your view on a topic of current public interest (three minutes)
  3. Give a one minute unprepared talk on one of a selection of topics provided by the examiner in the examination room (one minute will be provided for preparation) followed by a short discussion with the examiner on the topic and/or on speaking in public

For further Transition Year Examination Options, see Communications Skills syllabus,

Grade Seven – Suggested ages: 16 – 18

  1. Give a presentation, as if to a prospective employer, outlining your most positive achievements, characteristics and attributes (two minutes)
  2. Present your view on a moral/ ethical issue (three minutes)
  3. Give a one minute unprepared talk on one of a selection of topics provided by the examiner in the examination room (one minute will be provided for preparation) followed by a short discussion with the examiner on the topic and/or on speaking in public
  4. Theory: Be able to discuss with the examiner the use of emphasis, gesture and visual aids in public speaking

Public Speaking Proficiency Examination – Suggested ages: 17 – 20

  1. Imagine yourself at a job interview for a position of your choice. Give a three-minute presentation to the three-person interview panel on why you want the position and on the experience and personal qualities/attributes you have that make you the ideal candidate for the job Give a presentation, as if to a prospective employer, outlining your most positive achievements, characteristics and attributes
  2. Give a prepared talk on any aspect of Ireland, as if to a group of 20 (three minutes)
  3. Introduce an eminent keynote speaker to a large audience at an international conference (one minute)
  4. Make a presentation on a topic of your choice, using appropriate visual aids (seven minutes, including setting up and striking the visual aids)
  5. Give a one minute unprepared talk on one of a selection of topics provided by the examiner in the examination room (one minute will be provided for preparation)
  6. Theory:

a  Identify and discuss with the examiner the different techniques used during the presentations

b  Understand and be able to discuss your use of vocal modulation (pitch, rate and pace, tone and tone colour, inflections, emphasis, power and intensity, and pause)

A high standard of presentation is required for this examination. Candidates will be assessed on their communication skills, vocal technique and use of visual aids.

70% is required to pass the examination. Candidates receiving 70% or more will receive an Irish Board of Speech and Drama Proficiency certificate. Candidates who obtain 85% or more will also receive an Irish Board of Speech and Drama medal.