Exam Watch: Beyoncé’s diamonds and gender pay gaps among Leaving Cert challenges

Economics; Design and Communication Graphics; and Non-curricular Languages were examined today

Beyoncé in concert  in London earlier this month. Photograph: Neil Hall/Reuters

Beyoncé in concert in London earlier this month. Photograph: Neil Hall/Reuters


A detailed knowledge of current economic affairs was essential for students sitting a topical and testing higher level economics paper, teachers said today.

Bairbre Kennedy, ASTI subject representative said it was “a good, challenging paper,” but students without knowledge of current economic affairs may have struggled. Some students may have been unfamiliar with certain terms on the paper, such as “quantitative easing”, according to Shane O’Ciardubhain, TUI representative.

One question challenged students on gender pay disparities. The ordinary level paper contained a wide choice of questions, but some of these could have appeared on a higher level paper, and weaker students may have struggled, Mr O’Ciardubhain said.

American pop star Beyoncé added to the celebrity tally of this year’s State exams when she made an unexpected appearance on yesterday’s Leaving Cert higher level design and communications graphics paper. Students were asked questions on the geometry of her engagement ring.

The ordinary level paper was described as appropriately pitched and manageable.

Also today, over 1,500 students sat exams in non-curricular languages, including Lithuanian, Ancient Greek, and Dutch. Polish was the most popular non-curricular language, with 797 students applying to sit the paper.

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