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Phil Lynott is music to the ears of Leaving Cert exam students


Phil Lynott

Phil Lynott

Phil Lynott

Leaving Cert music candidates were treated to excerpts from Phil Lynott’s Old Town in an exam that left students very happy, say teachers.

The aural skills question in the listening paper asked students to describe some differences between an excerpt from Old Town featuring Lynott and another version by The Corrs.

Noel Cronin, a Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) subject representative, described the listening higher level paper as “very thorough and fair”.

Mr Cronin, of Borrisokane Community College, Co Tipperary said there was a good choice of essays in the Irish music section although he thought Q5 questions on the listening excerpt where Irish music was fused with modern/contemporary music were challenging.

Brid Kearney, an Association of Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (ASTI) subject representative, noted the extra choice in Q5 this year and she described the featured excerpts as ”very uplifting”.

She regarded the listening paper as “very fair and very student friendly. When my own students came out, they said the same thing. They were very happy,”

Dr Susan McCormick, of the Institute of Education , Dublin, thought it a “lovely listening paper” but felt there were some challenges in the composing paper.

In the composing paper, students usually have to answer one melody and one harmony question but, due to this year’s changes, they were only required to do either a melody or a harmony question.

She thought most students would have attempted Q1 or Q5 and described the opening of Q1 as “tricky”.

She added that the new layout of Q1 “may also have proved challenging for some students. It was a major upbeat melody in 3/4 time. Bar 1 was not based on a tonic chord which was also very unusual. “

In relation to Q5, which was in a minor key, Dr McCormick said ”most of the chords and progressions were very straightforward, however bars 6-7 proved tricky, requiring students to think outside the box in order to create strong chord progressions. “

Ms Kearney, who teaches at Kinsale Community School, Co Cork, thought the composing paper was “very straightforward” and that students to whom she spoke were very happy with it. However , she said in Q1, students could have been challenged by the upbeat.

Mr Cronin’s view was that the composing paper was “manageable and fair. There was a good choice and, overall, students were happy with it.”

Meanwhile, candidates sitting the Leaving Cert design and communication graphics papers were presented with a “fantastic choice” and “a great sense symmetry” said one teacher.

Robert Kiernan, of The Institute of Education, Dublin said “ no matter what students had covered in class, there was something for everyone. “

The big adjustment was in sections B and C, where students had to answer only two questions from a possible eight and that could have been two from either section, or one from each.

“The nice thing about it is that students were not pigeon-holed into answering Section B and a-Section C. There was fantastic choice and they could play to their strengths,” said Mr Kiernan.

Padraig Curley, an Association of Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (AST) subject representative, said the concessions were to be applauded and the real benefit to students was the extra time it allowed to review their answers.

Mr Curley of Loreto Community School, Milford, Co Donegal said “the time constraint has always been a problem, but it has been really alleviated this year.”

He said the challenge came in Section A where students still had answer three out of four , although he had no criticism of the questions. He said the interpenetration question, in A4 at higher level, was “a little time-consuming but time not an issue with this year’s paper, so a lot of students would have made a fair attempt at that.”

Mr Kiernan also said QA4 could have “could have posed problems, as students were restricted by space on the page. If they did not know the one technique to work around this restriction of space they would have been in difficulty.

“However, even if they couldn't answer this question, they still had a nice dihedral angle question, a nice conics question and a very simple perspective question.”

Mr Curley described sections B and C as not only offering great scope, but questions that were “very student friendly”. He felt students would have been delighted with QB2 on coordinate geometry.

Mr Kiernan commented on “a great sense of symmetry in the questions in sections B and C. They were easy to visualise and not very challenging to construct.”

He said students would have been delighted with the axonometric projection question in QB3, and Mr Curley agreed that the question was ”set up very well, with good graphics”. QB4, on a ping pong table, was lovely , said Mr Kiernan.

Mr Curley said while QC1 might have taken “ a little bit of time, it was eminently answerable”.

Mr Kiernan described QC2, the structural forms question, as “lovely”. He said “usually in the question there is something added or removed. But this was just a basic hyperbolic paraboloid. Students will have been very happy”

Mr Curley said ordinary level students should have felt confident coming out of their exam.

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