Saturday 22 October 2016

Leaving Cert Geography had 'challenging' parts but 'fair' choice of question

Published 05/06/2015 | 13:20

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

The Leaving Certificate Geography paper had some “challenging” parts but the choice of questions helped to make it fair for everyone, according to teacher Michael Doran.

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The geography teacher from the Institute of Education in Dublin said the higher level paper which thousands of students took on at exam centres around the country this morning, was a “fair paper”.

“There was some challenging questions, but there was enough choice to make this a fair paper,” Mr Doran said this morning.

“This year the mix of questions might have proved challenging for students, in the ‘regional’ and ‘physical’ sections in particular.

“A question on tectonic activity on the Irish landscape in ‘physical geography’ might have proved challenging for students, as they would have had to draw on their knowledge of a number of different topics such as rocks, volcanoes and faulting.

“Students would have found the question on climate in ‘regional geography’ quite difficult, as it went outside the confines of the typical textbook.”

He said that students faced a “nice question” in the ‘electives’ section of the paper which focused on social media and e-commerce, adding that it was “topical and relevant to young people”.

Part one of the higher level geography paper was short questions, where students were asked to attempt 10 out of 12 of the questions for 80 marks.

“There was a good balance of short questions,” Mr Doran said.  “A lot of old favourites appeared such as weather charts and satellite interpretation.”

The ‘physical’ section included questions on “popular topics” such as landform developments and human interaction.

The ‘regional ‘section included “familiar topics” but the Dublin based teacher said that some students may have found the “question on climate quite difficult”.

“Students were asked about the climate challenges faced by a region they had studied.  This question went outside the confines of the typical textbook, and students would have had to be aware of their world environment to answer it,” the Institute of Education teacher commented.

“Electives were fair with a very nice mix of questions.  Well prepared students would have been very happy with this section. 

“In the options section, students will have been very pleased with the Biome question, which was hoped for,” he added.

Marie Kennedy is a teacher in Firhouse Community College, Dublin, and the TUI.

She looked at the Junior Certificate geography paper this morning and said that “students and teachers should be very pleased” with the higher level exam.

“One of my students who came out with a beaming smile felt ‘it was the best exam so far this week’,” she told

“The questions on the higher level paper were wide ranging with a great range of topics.

“The ordinary level paper was more challenging than usual.  If the student took their time to read the questions carefully, they would have been able to select the questions that would have best suited their knowledge.

“Having said that there were a few questions that a higher level student would have found hard.”

This afternoon, Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate candidates will sit Maths Paper One.

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