Leaving Cert draws to close with exams in politics and Japanese

This year’s exams extended into a third week for the first time

The longest-ever set of Leaving Cert exams have finally drawn to a close, with around 1,300 students sitting papers in either Arabic, Japanese or politics & society.

The politics & society paper was "vibrant" and "really caught the mood of our times," said Michael Doran, a politics and society teacher at the Institute of Education.

“There was an excellent range of short questions, ranging from populism in the EU, to human rights, gender quotas and the issue of school uniforms,” he said.

“The paper reflected the issues that students would feel strongly about. It didn’t shy away from controversial issues, such as the question on violence against women that appeared in the data-based question.


“In the essay section there was a good choice of topics such as direct provision and immigration, national identity and the Irish political system.”

Mr Doran said that the paper showed “what a real, living and vibrant subject it is [but that] textbooks will date very quickly, as there were a lot of references on the paper to things that have happened in the past year.”

The Japanese exam, which took place at the same time, followed the format of previous years and was not likely to present and real difficulties for the prepared student, according to David McCartney, a Japanese teacher at Fingal Community College.

“The higher level paper was fair and revisited much of the material students would have covered with the oral preparation such as family, sports, holidays and hometown,” he said.

“Both the short and long essay questions presented ample opportunity for students to express their Japanese abilities across a wide spectrum of topics.

"The higher level comprehension and grammar questions covered the familiar topics of school uniform, the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and an Irish person's day-in-the-life of Japan, with few unexpected twists."

The ordinary level paper also followed the format of previous years and likely presented few real difficulties for the prepared student, Mr McCartney said.

Tr y these at home:
- Leaving Cert Politics & society (higher level)

Q. Are school uniforms socially divisive or a powerful tool for social equality? Justify your answer.

Q. Given the focus on environmental destruction in recent times, discuss whether a consumer’s purchasing choices can address this problem.

Note: Your answer should include current examples and evidence to support your position. You should also refer to two or more relevant international agreements/organisations* and/or the views of two or more theorists, one of whom must be named on your course.

*Relevant international agreements or organisations include The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Climate Agreement, The World Bank, The World Economic Forum, etc.