Saturday 16 December 2017

Leaving Cert Higher Level Biology - some 'odd bedfellows' in a 'challenging paper'

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Overall a challenging paper that covered every corner of the course and one that was inventive and wide-ranging in its content, was how teacher Mona Murray summed up Leaving Certificate higher level biology.

“It looked easy on the surface, but each question required a lot of detail, “ said Ms Murray of the Institute of Education, Dublin.

She noted that a number of different sections of the course were combined in questions: “These made odd bedfellows and the level of detail required for each was high.”

However, Ms Murray welcomed topical issues such as the Poolbeg Incinerator and the Zika Virus appearing on the paper, which, she said, showed students that biology was not just in the text books.

Ms Murray said some of the short questions were very detailed, and students needed to provide a lot of information in their answers.

In Section B, on experiments, she said Question 7 was "very nice".  As part of it, students were required to draw a food web, the first time this has been asked.  “This would require a lot of memory work and the question would have stretched the students a lot, “ she said.

Ms Murray said  there would have been smiles all round for  Question 8 on enzymes.  “This has never been asked but was hoped for”, while she described Question 9 as “very extensive”..

In the Section C, Ms Murray said the question on Poolbeg was a novel twist.

She thought  Question 11, on plants, was  “very challenging“ but described Question 12 as ”straightforward”, although many students would be disappointed that only a small part of the question was on genetics.

Ms Murray also described Question 13, on photosynthesis as “novel” and welcomed the topicality of the Zika virus question.

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