Leaving Cert: No surprises on Agricultural Science paper

General consensus that higher level paper ‘was very straightforward’

Students were asked a question on comparing farm yard manure and slurry as part of Question 3. Photograph: iStockphoto/Getty Images

Students sitting the 2017 Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science paper on Thursday were met with very few surprises.

Willie White, agricultural science teacher at St Peter's College, Wexford, said the general consensus from both teachers and students was that the higher level paper "was very straightforward".

“In recent years there have always been a few surprises on the paper that often throw students off. Thankfully this year there were no surprises with everything that was asked appearing on previous papers in some form or another,” said Mr White.

Students were asked about soil in Question 2 and some may have found it “a bit tricky”, he said.


The rest of the paper featured “a nice mix of questions” from all parts of the course, he added.

Students were asked “nice questions on crops, beef and genetics” and those who were “generally well prepared” should have found the paper “very doable”.

The Institute of Education’s Dónal Power said, “Overall this was a very fair exam, that covered all the main sections of the course.”

Most students would have been happy with the short questions featured in Question 1, as “nothing new or out of the ordinary was asked”.

On Question 2, Mr Power said students were required to think before answering. “Some students may have found it difficult to come up with three ways soil acidity increases.”

The first two sections of Question 3 on beef production were “straightforward” while part C “was a nice question on comparing farm yard manure and slurry”.

On Question 5, Mr Power said questions on standard milk quality and composition tests “were not hard”. “Some students may have not fully understood the words ‘Qualitative’ and ‘Quantitative’ as used in the question,” he added.

Overall, Mr Power described the exam as “very fair” and those students who practised past exam questions “would have been delighted with the paper”.

Mr White said the Ordinary Level paper was also generally well received although some students said there was “a bit too much emphasis on the biology- type question as opposed to agriculture-based questions”.

“All in all, people were happy,” he said.

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Iriseoir agus Eagarthóir Gaeilge An Irish Times. Éanna Ó Caollaí is The Irish Times' Irish Language Editor, editor of The Irish Times Student Hub, and Education Supplements editor.