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Leaving Certificate: Agricultural Science

The Leaving Certificate Agricultural exam includes a written paper and a project that documents your farm experience and the assessed experiments.

The project is a vital piece of the course and if completed well can put students on the path to a good grade. It is marked initially by your class teacher and then in May an examiner will moderate and interview students on their projects.

> Course Topics

There are 11 main topics to cover: animal classification, animal physiology, animal production, ecology, fertilisers, genetics, grassland, plant classification, plant science, soil science, tillage and root crops.

> The Project

The project is worth 100 marks or 25pc and should include the following:

Experiments

Experiments need to be completed from: soil ecology, animal physiology, plant physiology, genetics, microbiology.

Experiments need to be carried out in class and under the supervision of your class teacher; they should be carefully written up and kept in an experiment copy book.

The experiments are worth 45 marks: soil — 10, ecology — 10, animal physiology — 10, plant physiology — 5, genetics — 5, microbiology — 5.

Each should have the following format:

>Title

>Date

> Materials: Make sure you make a list of materials that you used, including chemicals etc.

> Method: This should be clear bullet points that are easy to follow.

> Diagram: This needs to be drawn in pencil and labelled clearly.

> Results: Results that you obtained, if it involved a graph it needs to be drawn on graph paper in pencil. The graph should be labelled clearly.

>Conclusion: Conclusion of your finds, how it relates to the theory that you are testing.

Identification

>Identification of some common plants associated with agriculture: crops, grasses, weeds. State their importance and the family they belong to (10 marks).

>Identification of some common animals associated with agriculture: Cattle, sheep, pigs. State their importance and the phylum they belong to (10 marks).

Experience

>Crops: write on at least two from cereal crop; a root crop and grassland, using the following headings for each: varieties, place in rotation, cultivation practices, establishment of the crop, harvesting the crop, storing the crop, expected yield and livestock (15 marks).

>Farm animals: Write a report on a farm animal using the following headings: Type of enterprise, Breeds, Husbandry, Disease control, Housing (15 marks).

> Farm and land Layout: Include sketched maps of the farmyard layout and layout of the land (5 marks).

The project should include resources that you have collected from your farm visits: photographs, seeds etc. Make sure that the photos include you.

There is an oral exam and you will have to answer questions on your project and your farm visit, so it is not enough to download information from the internet.

> The Higher Level Paper

The written paper counts for 75pc (300 marks) of the exam. There are nine questions on the paper, you must answer six.

Question 1: Ten short questions (you must attempt this question), 60 marks.

Question 2: soil, 48 marks.

Question 3: answer option 1 or 2, 48 marks.

Question 4: experiment question answer two qustions, 48 marks.

Question 5: topic on the course, 48 marks.

Question 6: topic on the course, 48 marks.

Question 7: genetics, 48 marks.

Question 8: any topic, answer two parts out of three, 48 marks

Question 9: scientific explanation: given four or five statements write a note on each, 48 marks

The exam is 2½ hours long. Use 10 minutes at the beginning to read through the paper and mark the questions you are going to complete. Each of the six questions answered should take 22 minutes. Take 10 minutes at the end to read back over the paper.

> The Ordinary Level Paper

Section 1: There are seven short questions. You must answer six. (120 marks, 20 per question) Section 2: There are four long questions and you must answer three (180 marks, 60 marks per question).

Spend five minutes at the start reading over the paper thoroughly and mark the questions that you are going to complete. Take 40 minutes to complete Section 1, about six minutes per question and 100 minutes for Section 2 — 33 minutes per question.

Allow yourself five minutes at the end to read over the paper to ensure that you have answered all the questions to the best of your ability.


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