Leaving Cert accounting: well-practiced students happy with ‘fair’ exam

‘Everything has appeared in some form before and patterns from previous years remained’

Leaving Cert students sat the accountancy exam on Wednesday afternoon. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

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Well-practised students were happy with this year’s higher-level accounting exam, teachers have said.

John Taylor, an accounting teacher at the Institute of Education, said that the paper’s fairness was rooted in its consistency with previous years.

“Accounting is about consistency: the application of a honed skill set within the given time,” he said.

“In many ways, it is a very practical subject and so a fair paper is one that lets the student jump right into the work without distraction or confusion. This was a fair paper. Everything has appeared in some form before and patterns from previous years remained.


“Anyone who had applied themselves to practising the past papers and kept an eye on the clock will be relieved by the exam’s conclusion.”

Eamon Scully, ASTI subject representative and a teacher at Maria Immaculata Community College, Dunmanway, Co Cork, agreed that the paper was fair.

“If students had practised their paper, they had a good chance to complete this exam within the required time,” he said.

Mr Scully said that students would have liked most of the questions, with some exceptions.

“Question five was on the interpretation of accounts and, although this comes up every year, would not be a student’s favourite, given that it requires learning formulas.

“Question seven was on suspense accounts, which can be difficult.

“Question six was a question on cash flow. Students had to do two of questions five, six and seven, and I suspect most would have gone for question six and one of five or seven.”

Mr Taylor said that the three optional 60-mark questions consisted of published accounts, farm accounts and depreciation.

“These were widely anticipated,” he said.

“These questions did not contain any major surprises and were not so long as to disproportionately consume precious exam time, so students attempting this option would have been pleased.

“The depreciation question included installation charges which might have thrown some students but has been asked before in different questions so, yet again, diligent preparation would pay off.

“The theory element of the farm accounts was very nice, asking students to consider energy savings in their financial analysis of the proposal to install solar panels,” Mr Taylor said.

There were some phrases which may have thrown candidates, including some aspects of question eight on flexible budgets and stock valuation, as well as a theory part of question nine, which used the phrase “variance analysis” and may have thrown some students, said Mr Taylor.

Ordinary level

On the ordinary level paper, Mr Scully said that it was a nice paper and that students who had prepared would have been pleased with it.

Mr Taylor said that the new accounting specification is currently under review and, although it is early days, he would like to see continuity between the junior cycle business curriculum and the senior cycle accounting curriculum, so that the gap between the papers is not too wide.