Leaving Cert business exam: ‘Students had to think on their feet’

Many candidates will have recognised the majority of higher-level questions from previous papers, ASTI representative says

Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

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Industrial disputes, European elections and interest rates featured on a topical higher-level Leaving Cert business paper that pleased well-prepared students, teachers have said.

Vincent Murray, a teacher at CBC Cork, said the paper was student-friendly.

“There was lots of choice on a paper that had wide-ranging questions,” said Murray, a subject representative for the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI).

“There were a lot of questions on topics that are in the news and this would have appealed to students as it ties in well with what they learned in class. This paper showed how important it is for students to keep up to date on the news.”


Leaving Cert business, higher level, part 1:

Leaving Cert business, higher level, parts 2 and 3:

Keith Hannigan, a business teacher at the Institute of Education, said the paper drew on the familiar but asked students to think on their feet.

“Students will recognise the majority of the questions from previous papers and be pleased with those questions that took a more desirable approach to topics,” Mr Hannigan said.

“This was a good paper for those who really focused on preparing the past papers and drilled themselves on grasping the key concepts of the course.

“However, the occasional new question would have challenged students to think on their feet and maybe alter their plan for how to approach the later sections,” he said.

Naomi Keenan, Studyclix.ie subject expert and a teacher at De La Salle College in Dundalk, said that students would be happy with a “lovely” paper.

“Students were blessed this year again with the extra questions on the paper due to Covid-19 allowances, only having to complete four out of eight questions,” Ms Keenan said.

There were some challenges however.

“The first question asked students to recommend one way they think the small claims procedure could be improved,” Ms Keenan said. “This would have challenged even the stronger students.”

All three teachers said that students would have liked the applied business question, where students were asked to apply their knowledge of business to a case study involving a nursing home company.

“Many students worry about the Applied Business Question (ABQ) but will have been relieved by the approach the question setter took,” said Mr Hannigan.

“Question A (on entrepreneurial skills) is one of the most common questions, appearing a dozen times previously.”

Ms Keenan said that some students might struggle to get full marks for a part of this question which asked them to define the term “contract”.

“Some students may have difficulty with part (c) where they were asked to evaluate management skills,” Ms Keenan said.

“Some students may not know the difference between management skills and management activities. Correctors this summer may find a substantial number of students answering based on management activities instead of skills.”

Ordinary level

On the ordinary level paper, Mr Murray said that it was student-friendly with lots of choice. Questions on corporation tax, industrial relations, the consumer and the use of apps like Revolut appeared on the test.

“There were no shock surprises for students, who would be well prepared by studying past papers,” said Ms Keenan.

“Students would have expected a lot of these topics to appear. Students shouldn’t have had much difficulty with the short questions answering 10 out of 15, with the usual true/false, matching exercises, and circle the correct options being present as always.

“In the long questions, students had to answer four out of nine questions, and each question was typical of questions seen in previous years with nothing new or challenging for students that had worked through their past papers.”

Leaving Cert business, ordinary level, part 1:

Leaving Cert business, ordinary level, part 2:

Try this one at home:

-Leaving Cert business, higher level

Q3 C (ii) Explain the importance for Ireland of any one of the following policies of the European Union:

Common Agricultural Policy; EU Social Policy; EU Competition Policy