There was a mixed reaction to today's Leaving Cert Biology paper

There were a lot of Leaving Cert students who had to sit their Biology paper today.

Full-time second-level Maths, Geography and Biology teacher Luke Saunders, said students would have found the Higher level Leaving Cert Biology paper "very doable" as it covered a broad range of topics.

However, online reaction seemed to disagree as there were a lot of students claiming it was very difficult.

Mr Saunders said: "Well-prepared students would have been immediately been put at ease by the appearance of questions on the Circulatory, Skeletal and Reproductive systems as well as questions on both the Eye and Ear. The Ecology question was very straightforward and many students who had practiced previous year’s papers would have scored well here.

"Many students will have been surprised by the relatively small amount of Genetics that appeared on this year’ higher paper. Question 14 (a) focused on Evolution and Mutations and the genetic crossing question was this year found in the Section A short questions."

The studyclix.ie founder went on to say that many students who would be in the B and C range at higher level often find Genetics the hardest part of the course.

He said: "Some students would have found some of the definitions asked a little challenging particularly piloerection (goosebumps) and thigmotropism (the turning or bending of a plant in response to touch.

"Section B of the paper requires students to answer two of three questions based on the practical experiments. The first was a mixed question that examined multiple practicals and would have rewarded students whose teacher had completed all 22 mandatory experiments.

"The second section B question looked at an investigation into the effect of exercise on human pulse or breathing rate and would be considered as one of the easier experiments on the course. Despite many predicting at least one enzyme experiment the final experiment on this year’s paper looked at digestive activity during seed germination, another of the easier experiments on the course."

Sinéad Naughton, from Jesus and Mary Secondary School in Enniscrone, Co Sligo, echoed Mr Saunders' comments.

She said: "Overall I thought today went really well. I was relieved to see the eye and the ear on the paper and the experiments questions could have been a lot worse.

"I was really surprised to see a genetics cross in the short questions."

Mr Saunders thought this year's Ordinary level paper wasn't quite as easy as it had been.

He said: "My first reaction when looking at today’s Ordinary Biology paper was that it certainly wasn’t as straightforward as it has been in previous years. Several questions examined some parts of the course in quite a bit of detail. For example the human reproduction question focused mainly on infertility while there was also a question devoted to Viruses.

"Students would have been happy to see a very approachable Ecology question that featured a paragraph on bee reproduction and required students to answer a series of related questions.

"Well-prepared students would have found the Section B experiment questions very doable with questions covering the effect of PH on an enzyme, viewing onion cells under a microscope and a mixed question that again reinforced the importance of covering all experiments on the course."

However, Thomas Finnerty from the Jesus and Mary Secondary School found the paper easier than expected.

He said: "I was fearful going into the ordinary Biology paper today as this is not one of my strong subjects. However I was surprised at how many questions I was able to attempt.

"I found the experiments question the hardest part."

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