Leaving Cert exams finish up tomorrow

Leaving Cert exams finish up tomorrow
Celebrating finishing their exams are Presentation Brothers College students Tom Murphy, James O Coileáin, Tadhg Cowhig, Alex Doherty, and Brian Lynch at the school on Mardyke Walk, Cork City. Pictures: Jim Coughlan

While the majority of students across the country finished up their exams last week, tomorrow afternoon will see the official end of the 2019 Leaving Certificate exams.

Almost 3,500 students across the country sat elective subjects today including Italian, Russian, Latin, classical studies, and technology.

Mairéad Ni Drisceoil, subject representative for the Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland (ASTI), and an Italian teacher at Coláiste Na Phiarsaigh in Glanmire, Co Cork, said the higher-level Italian paper was “very student friendly”.

“The journalistic passage about penpals was a very accessible topic for students,” she said. “As was the case last year, the sections for the answers were not given. This should not have come as a surprise this year.

“The written section was straightforward, including topics such as friendship and an exam nightmare.”

The ordinary-level Italian paper featured modern topics such as fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad. 

“The paper was very approachable and students could relate to it. They were pleased,” said Ms Ni Drisceoil.

The higher-level classical studies paper did not have any major pitfalls, according to Jim O’Dea, ASTI subject rep and a classical studies teacher at Rathdown School in Glenageary, Co Dublin.

“It was fair and reasonable, but I would have criticism about the distribution of the marks.”

Some questions had fewer subdivisions than others, putting students who had studied those topics at a disadvantage, said Mr O’Dea.

“The ordinary-level paper was reasonable with a good range of questions which would both test the pupils while also allowing them to express their own opinions on different topics,” he said.

Latin, taken for the Leaving Certificate by 60 students around the country, saw students asked to translate a passage about the murder of Caesar and whether Nero had any redeeming qualities as the ruler of Rome.

PBC Latin teacher Ronan O’Mahoney with Sean Collins, one of 60 students around the country who sat the exam today.
PBC Latin teacher Ronan O’Mahoney with Sean Collins, one of 60 students around the country who sat the exam today.

The paper was “very manageable”, according to Aryn Penn, ASTI subject representative and a Latin teacher at Gonzaga College in Dublin. 

“It showcased the best material that the Latin course has to offer.”

The higher-level technology exam saw questions based on phishing, the development of a mass-market drone, and upcycling, using the example of Kinsale-based company Mamukko, which uses reclaimed sails and leathers to create bags.

Students were also asked to answer questions on energy conversion in an audio speaker using the example of Sonarc, an Irish firm that created the world’s first audio speaker which has no moving parts.

At ordinary level, students were asked about Google Expeditions, VR viewers, and greenhouse-gas emissions.

More than 1,300 students are expected to sit Japanese, Arabic, and politics and society exams tomorrow.

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