Leaving Cert religious education and applied math: wonderful, challenging

It was good news for religion students, but applied maths presented a real challenge on the last day of exams.

Candidates were pleased with the selection of questions, but also the clarity of language, in the higher level paper in particular. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill Photographer: Dara Mac Donaill / THE IRISH TIMES

Candidates were pleased with the selection of questions, but also the clarity of language, in the higher level paper in particular. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill Photographer: Dara Mac Donaill / THE IRISH TIMES

Sat, Jun 21, 2014, 01:00

Prayers were answered on the final morning of the Leaving Cert with religious education presenting “one of the nicest, fairest papers we’ve seen,” according to Aisling Flood of the ASTI.

Candidates were pleased with the selection of questions but also the clarity of language, in the higher level paper in particular. The paper tested students’ knowledge but also required them to apply what they had learned to real life situations. The paper referred to current situations and made a genuine attempt to connect with students’ lives and interests. “That was very nice to see,” Flood said.

She also praised the cross curricular influences in questions on the paper.

Ordinary-level candidates were also satisfied with a “fair” paper, although it did contain one challenging question asking students about ancient societies and their expression of religious belief through art. “That was perhaps a little obscure for the level,” Flood said. “But overall it was fine.”

Unfortunately for applied maths students, who were also sitting a morning paper, they were presented with a real challenge. “Strong students were really tested,” said Hilary Dorgan of the Institute of Education. “Students expecting a C grade may have left the exam thinking they had done very badly.”

The exam required a great deal of knowledge, aptitude, calmness and an ability to get through large amounts of data, according to Dorgan. The length of the paper may not have given students a chance to think about how to approach questions.

The exams finished up with Italian, Japanese and technology, with more than 300 students taking each of the language exams, and more than 1,100 sitting technology.

For the afternoon’s Italian paper, higher-level students would have been busy for the duration of the exam according to ASTI representative Ciarán Mac Craith. “The written expression section topics were student-friendly and relevant to the syllabus,” he said.

“Comprehensions were quite time-consuming and demanding and would have tested candidates’ understanding of grammar,” Mr Mac Craith said. Ordinary-level students would have “engaged well” with the paper, he added.