The higher-level home economics paper included a very challenging question on diabetes that was more suitable for Leaving Cert level, teachers have said.
Margaret Kent, ASTI subject representative and a teacher at Loreto Secondary School in Cork, believes a long question asking students about diabetes “would usually appear on a senior cycle paper".
“I think there was too much required here for a Junior Cert student," Ms Kent said.
Overall, the paper was best suited to a student who could integrate their home economics knowledge with their general health knowledge and draw from areas of the social, personal and health education (SPHE) course.”
Kate Hehir, TUI subject representative and a teacher at St Michael’s Community College, Kilmihil, Co Clare, also believed the question on diabetes would have been "quite focused".
One of the longer questions asked students about consumer rights and advertising, which both teachers found very challenging.
“They were asked to list four different techniques to advertise luxury goods, but their knowledge of luxury goods would be limited,” said Ms Kent.
Another tough question went into detail on microwave ovens, which Ms Hehir described as “exacting”.
The ordinary level paper was "very 'do-able' and attainable" according to Ms Hehir.
It also made good use of diagrams and featured questions on smoking and encouraging children to eat more fruit, according to Ms Kent.
In the afternoon, almost 27,500 students sat the religious education exam, which required students to “really know their stuff”, according to ASTI religious education spokeswoman, Sinead Moore.
“Overall I think both papers were challenging,” Ms Moore said.
“The higher level paper compared to last year was fair. Students were asked about one world religion as part of question three, whereas last year they needed to know two.
"In general, from speaking to students, there has been a mixed reaction to the exam.
"You really can’t get away with not studying for the subject because the exam is difficult and you really need to draw from all aspects.”