Solid answering with no room for generalisations was demanded of Junior Cert religious education higher-level candidates yesterday, according to teacher Aisling Flood.
It was the essay section that was particularly demanding, said Ms Flood, of the ASTI and St Joseph's Secondary School, Newfoundwell, Drogheda.
Students had a choice of six topics from which they were required to answer one and were advised on the paper to spend about 20 minutes on it.
Ms Flood said the questions were narrowly focused and students may also have found the language off-putting.
"In previous years, they might have been a little broader. If you knew your stuff, you knew your stuff, but weaker students might have struggled," she said.
Another question Ms Flood highlighted was the one featuring a map of Palestine, which she described as "blurred".
While pupils were only required to identify two features on it, she felt the map should have been better quality.
Candidates also had to describe an incident about the life of Jesus, associated with one of the two places highlighted on the map, which she thought was quite limiting for some.
However, overall Ms Flood's view of the higher-level paper was that, while demanding and awkward in places, it was fair.
"It will reward students who worked hard," she said.
She described the ordinary-level paper as "very fair and straightforward, with questions that embraced all ability levels".
Her one reservation was that section 3, question 4 was "very wordy and long-winded, which may have caused weaker candidates to get lost or a little confused".