Leaving Cert construction studies and classical studies

A well-constructed paper that was well put together

A good knowledge of plumbing and a firm grasp of the English language were the tools of the trade on the Leaving Cert Construction Studies exam. Photograph: Getty Images

A good knowledge of plumbing and a firm grasp of the English language were the tools of the trade on the Leaving Cert Construction Studies exam. Photograph: Getty Images

Thu, Jun 19, 2014, 16:32

A good knowledge of plumbing and a firm grasp of the English language were the tools of the trade on the Leaving Cert Construction Studies exam. Despite the property crash, this is still a popular subject, with 8,694 students sitting it this year.

John O’Donovan of St Joseph’s secondary school in Ballybunion said while the exam had its snag list, it was basically a well-constructed paper. “Question 1 mentioned a timber frame construction and they would be used to seeing a solid block wall in this section,” he said. “The trussed roof may also have thrown them on question 1.

“Question 2 featured an entrance that needed to be revamped for wheelchair access in time for a wedding. A plan for suitable lighting was a challenging one for a young student to come up with. This was higher order questioning.”

Question 3 required a good knowledge of architecture and design as students were tasked with converting a room into a study.

Perhaps the most difficult challenge was the job of putting an en suite bathroom into a bedroom. “This required the design of plumbing – you’d have to know not to put a toilet on an inside wall, for example,” Mr O’Donovan said.

The paper finished with a quote about the role of the architect, requiring a discursive-style response. “A student with a good grasp of English could score quite well in that.”

Some 582 students sat the classical studies paper which featured some welcome changes to the usual marking.

“This year the examiners moved away from 50-mark questions and favoured breaking down questions into parts,” said Jim O’Dea of Rathdown School in Dublin. “This makes it handier for students. If you misinterpret a 50-mark question you can lose an awful lot of marks. This way more specific information is sought. It is to be recommended.”