Leaving Cert agricultural science: More challenging than usual

This is the last year that the current agricultural science syllabus will be examined

There are 7,987 students studying agricultural science, including 4,680 males and 3,307 females.

There are 7,987 students studying agricultural science, including 4,680 males and 3,307 females.

 

Students found the selection of questions on the higher-level agricultural science more challenging and more topical than usual, teachers said.

“Question one required students to choose six from a possible ten questions,” said Luke Saunders, founder of Studyclix.ie and an agricultural science teacher at Jesus and Mary Secondary School in Enniscrone, Co Sligo. “This year’s paper had a higher than usual emphasis on soil and plant questions - two of the topics less favoured by students.”

Donal Power, an agricultural science teacher at the Institute of Education in Dublin, said that the paper had no questions that students would not have prepared for. He particularly liked a topical question which addressed the drought Ireland experienced in the summer of 2018. The experiments were straightforward and students would have liked a question on genetics, he said.

A new specification for the subject is being introduced this September, while the last exam using the current syllabus will take place in 2020.  “It has been criticised as out of touch with modern farming practices, so it was interesting to note that question five referred to the recent authorisation by the EU of glycophosphates such as Roundup on Irish farms - one of the few examples I can remember where the paper referred to current events,” said Mr Saunders.

The ordinary level paper was nice and straightforward, said Mr Power. “It had questions on a wide range of topics such as sheep, silage, dairying, cereals and farm machinery.”

There are 7,987 students studying agricultural science, including 4,680 males and 3,307 females.