Because video-based exams don’t allow for interaction between examiner and candidate, we have made some temporary changes to our syllabuses. These mainly concern the theory elements of the exams but also propose ways in which we will address unprepared improvisation and sight reading.

 

Acting Performance exams

Under the current restrictions, only Acting Performance solo exams will be permitted.

For unprepared improvisations, a short list of improvisation topics will be sent to the teacher with the exam confirmation.

Senior One exam theory: the candidate will make a short presentation about the character she/he played in her dramatic solo and how she prepared the piece for performance.

Senior Two exam theory: the candidate will make a short presentation about the character she/he played in her/his dramatic solo and how she/he prepared the piece for performance, and will also discuss her/his use of movement and gesture in the piece.

 

Communication Skills exams

Preliminary exams: the candidate will simply recite her/his poem

Junior One: instead of a conversation with the examiner, the candidate will make a short (1 minute maximum) presentation about her/himself

Junior Two: instead of a conversation with the examiner, the candidate will make a short (1 minute maximum) presentation about a sport/hobby/interest in which she/he is involved.

Junior Four: following the poem and reading, the candidate will simply present a one-minute summary of the story from which the reading extract was taken.

Intermediate, Transition Year and Senior One: a short list of improvisations will be sent to the teacher with the exam confirmation, for use by any candidate choosing the improvisation option.

Transition Year and Senior One: a short list of talk topics will be sent to the teacher with the exam confirmation, for use by any candidate choosing the impromptu talk option

 

Grade exams

Preliminary Grade One and Two: the candidate will simply recite a poem

Grade One: the candidate will recite a poem and give a one-minute talk about her/himself or a toy or book.

Grade Two theory: the candidate will list the organs of speech.

Grade Three: following the prepared reading, the candidate will make a short (1 minute) summary of the book from which the extract was taken. For theory, the candidate will make a short presentation, defining a vowel, a consonant and the pause, and will indicate where in her/his poem, she/he used a breath pause and a sense pause.

Grade Four theory: the candidate will define mime and give a simple description of abstract mime or pantomime blanche. She/he will then demonstrate good verse speaking posture and explain why adopting such a posture is important.

Grade Five theory: the candidate will give a short presentation on the character she/he represented in the solo drama, and will define clear, natural and expressive speech.

Grade Six:  a poem will be sent to the teacher with the exam confirmation for the sight reading element. For theory, the candidate will make a short presentation on the mood and meaning of the poem she/he recited, and will define and demonstrate pitch and vocal projection.

Grade Seven theory: the candidate will make a short presentation based on a character chart or similar, with an analysis of the character the candidate played in her/his dramatic solo, and a description of the techniques used by the candidate to interpret the character physically and vocally. The candidate will also define emphasis and provide an example of how she/he used emphasis in either her/his poem or dramatic selection.

Grade Eight: for the unprepared improvisation, a short list of improvisation topics will be sent to the teacher with the exam confirmation. For the theory, the candidate will make a short presentation based on a character chart or similar, with an analysis of the character the candidate played in her/his dramatic solo, and a description of the techniques used by the candidate to interpret the character physically and vocally. The candidate will also define rate and pace and describe how she/he used pace and pace variation in her/his dramatic selection and to what effect.

Grade Nine theory: the candidate will make a short presentation based on a character chart or similar, with an analysis of the character the candidate played in her/his dramatic solo, and a description of the techniques used by the candidate to interpret the character physically and vocally. The candidate will also define tone colour and will give a demonstration of how tone colour can be used to convey different moods and emotions.

Grade Ten: instead of the impromptu talk and the prescribed theory requirements, the candidate will give a presentation on her recital, describing the process used to compile it, the reason for her/his choice of pieces, and how she/he prepared the recital for performance. The presentation should also include an analysis of how the candidate used the elements of modulation in her/his performance.

Grade Eleven theory: the candidate will make a presentation on the sonnet, comparing the form and thematic structures of the Petrarchan and Shakespearean sonnets, with examples of each, and discussing the mood, meaning and her/his interpretation of the sonnet performed during the exam.

Grade Twelve theory: the candidate will make two short presentations. The first will focus on the character the candidate played in her/his dramatic solo, and provide an analysis of the character and a comprehensive description of the vocal and physical techniques used in her/his performance. The second will discuss the use of imagery in literature and will include examples of visual, auditory, olfactory and tactile imagery.

Grade Proficiency theory: the candidate will present a comprehensive analysis of her/his interpretation of her poem, prose selection and solo drama, focussing on her/his use of vocal and, where relevant, physical techniques.

 

Public Speaking exams

Unprepared talks: the teacher will receive a topic list with the exam confirmation.

Grade Six: the discussion with the examiner will be omitted.

Grade Seven theory: the candidate will make a short presentation on the use of emphasis, gesture and visual aids in public speaking.

Public Speaking Proficiency theory: the candidate will make a presentation on her/his use and the desired effects of the elements of modulation in public speaking.

 

David Meredith

Director

Irish Board of Speech & Drama

April 2020