Leaving Cert final day: Exams draw to a close with series of tough papers

Technology, Italian, Japanese, applied maths and religious education make up last day of exams

The Leaving Cert drew to a close yesterday with five exams.

The Leaving Cert drew to a close yesterday with five exams.


The 2018 Leaving Cert drew to a close yesterday with five exams including technology, Italian and Japanese in the morning and, in the afternoon, applied maths and religious education.

Fiona Byrne, a technology teacher at Castleknock Community College, said one part of the higher level paper posed a significant difficulty for students.

“They found section A, where they have to answer 12 out of 15 questions, extremely challenging. They were unfamiliar with many of the terms used in questions and said there were very few technology concepts which you would see on previous papers,” she said.

The rest of the paper was more predictable and students were generally happy, but good time management was required, said Ms Byrne, a TUI representative.


At the same time, the Japanese exam, which some 310 students sat, saw a continuation of the format used over the past several years, according to David McCartney, a teacher at Fingal Community College in Swords. “Students said that the paper was comfortable with some minor comprehension challenges in the reading and grammar sections. The ordinary level paper presented no stumbling blocks for the well-prepared student.”


Also in the morning, about 480 students sat Italian. Robbie Cronin, ASTI representative and teacher at Marian College Ballsbridge, said the higher level exam started with a challenging piece on turning open areas into sports centres but the questions on the literary prose section seemed fair and the rest of the paper was fine. He said the ordinary level paper was also fine except for an article on car-sharing which was a bit too difficult.

Applied maths

In the afternoon, an estimated 2,115 students sat applied maths. Hilary Dorgan, a teacher at the Institute of Education, said the paper presented many twists and turns.

“I feel the questions were far too challenging for the average student who attempts applied maths as an extra subject and the questions on the paper were very long. Students deserve time to think and the exam needs to be lengthened by 30 minutes,” he said.

Religious education

Finally, the religious education paper, sat by 1,283 students, saw the appearance of a topical question on the role of women in major world religions. Mary Deirdre Kinsella, ASTI representative and a teacher at St Angela’s Waterford, said the higher level paper was generous and students will have liked it.