End draws closer for students as final week of State exams begins

The final week of the 2013 State exams got under way with physics and accounting for Leaving Certificate students.

Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) physics spokesman Ger Curtin spoke positively of the higher-level exam, taken by almost 5,000 of the 6,500-plus students entered for the subject.

He said the topics in most questions were well-received but some students were surprised not to see a full question on electromagnetism. A question on seismometers and earthquakes was topical, reflecting the recent trend of including real-world topics in the exam.

Michael Gillespie of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) said the ordinary-level questions were broken down well. The opening of the higher-level exam, with two questions from the mechanics section, was surprising, he thought. He said there was a nice question on resonance, which required a good bit of maths work, and students seemed pleased with the question on radioactivity.

* The afternoon’s accounting papers included a higher-level exam that TUI’s Veronica Edwards felt was fair, with one tough question asking students to advise on possible expansion of a business. Knowledge of accounting theory was important, as it featured in five of nine questions, she said.

Peter Quinn of Asti said students needed to be well-prepared for this challenging exam and might not have known how to treat the universal social charge entry in the first set of accounts. He felt the management accounting section covered a lot of areas.

He said the ordinary-level exam was fair and examined elements of accounting that were expected. Ms Edwards said well-revised candidates should have managed it with ease.

* The afternoon’s Junior Certificate materials technology (wood) papers were worth one-third of overall marks and Asti’s Noel Scott deemed the second of two sections for higher-level students nicely grounded in practical applications.

TUI’s Cornelius Young said there was surprise that conversion and seasoning of timber were the subject of a single question rather than separate ones at higher level. But the paper had a question on cutting a tenon, which they would be used to doing. He considered ordinary-level questions varied and straightforward, while Mr Scott said it was was well suited to students of this standard.

* Michael Martin of TUI said Junior Cert higher-level students of technical graphics had a very fair first section to the morning’s written exam. The toughest of long questions may have been ones in which images of a drinks machine and a skateboard jump were used. He said a games console logo in an ordinary-level question made it a modern paper, but a circles-in-contact question based on a toy duck tough.

ASTI’s John O’Sullivan said the papers at both levels were fair, clearly phrased and well-presented diagrams. He commended the way students could apply their understanding of geometric principles through a variety of every-day items, including an ordinary-level question on a golf putting aid.

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