News Education

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Biology Higher Level: Absence of photosynthesis and human reproduction prove a surprise

Katherine Donnelly, Education Editor

Published 10/06/2014 | 17:21

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The prose text was tricky
Topical, relevant and interesting exam

The Leaving Certificate Biology Higher Level paper was manageable, although there were some tricky parts to it, according to teacher Corinna Mahoney, of Yeats College in Galway.

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Ms Mahoney also thought that the absence of the core topics of photosynthesis and human reproduction on the paper was a surprise.

She described Section A, the short questions as fair. While Section B, the experiment questions which included examining cells under the microscope and dissection of the heart, would have pleased students.

Meanwhile, topical issues featured in the Section C, the long questions -  including DNA profiling of beef and horse meat, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Ms Mahoney said a long question on enzymes, which included the preparation of alcohol, was straightforward.

She thought it surprising that a question on the myxoma virus, responsible for myxomatosis in rabbits, which was examined in 2008, featured again.

Mona Murray, biology teacher at The Institute of Education, Dublin  described it as a “well-balanced paper, that required a good depth of knowledge”.

She said a clear and accurate knowledge of the biology syllabus would have been required, but well prepared students would have been well rewarded in the exam.

Ms Mahoney described the ordinary level paper as straightforward and included topics that would have suited most students.

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