Leaving Cert design & communication graphics: ‘Fantastic choice for students’

Excellent variety of questions allowed candidates play to their strengths, say teachers

Students preparing for this year’s Leaving Cert exams. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Students preparing for this year’s Leaving Cert exams. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill


The Leaving Cert design and communication graphics exam papers offered “fantastic choice” to students, according to teachers.

Seosamh Mac Ceallabhuí, a teacher at Coláiste Ailigh in Letterkenny and a TUI subject representative, said this year’s paper had a marked emphasis on more challenging geometry questions.

“That will have challenged some students and served the stronger students well,” he said.

“However, there was lots of choice and plenty of room for manoeuvre, so students’ will not have been caught out.”

Robert Kiernan, a teacher at Dublin’s Institute of Education, said it was a “very fair paper” with an “excellent variety of topics”.

“Fantastic choice meant that no matter what students had covered in class, there was something for everyone,” he said.

Students were not pigeon-holed into answering section B and section C and, as a result, could play to their strengths.

“There was a great sense of symmetry in the questions in sections B and C. They were easy to visualise and not very challenging to construct.”

Section A

There were no changes to section A this year and students had to answer three out of four questions.

Mr Kiernan said question A4 - the intersecting solids question - could have posed problems, as students were restricted by space on the page.

“If they did not know the one technique to work around this restriction of space they would have been in difficulty,” he said.

“However, even if they couldn’t answer this question, they still had a nice dihedral angle question, a nice conics question and a very simple perspective question.”

Sections B and C

This year students had to answer two out of eight questions in Section B and/or C. Normally they have to answer two from Section B and two from Section C.

Mr Mac Ceallabhuí said this gave students unprecedented choice and helped  ensure candidates will not be penalised if they failed to complete the curriculum due to school closures.

“The questions were very fair, very doable. Having to answer two questions was very generous time-wise,” he said.

Mr Kiernan said the major questions in Sections B and C were easy to visualise because of their symmetry.

“Question B4 was a lovely question on a ping pong table. A nice pictorial view was given and the shape was easy to visualise, as it had flat surfaces with a very basic curve attached,” he said.

He said students would have been “delighted” with the axonometric projection question in B3.

“There were no real visualisation skills involved, and the shapes were symmetrical and made up of basic planar surfaces and a basic curve,” he said.

The structural forms question in C2 was “lovely”, Mr Kiernan added.

“Usually in the question there is something added or removed. But this was just a basic hyperbolic paraboloid. Students will have been very happy with this,” he said.

Mr Mac Ceallabhuí said the lamina question - B2 - was very interesting and added an extra challenge towards the end.

“That demanded a greater understanding of geometry, so it may have challenged some candidates.”