Business studies took up the entire Junior Certificate schedule yesterday, although ordinary level students only had a morning paper to sit.
For the estimated 27,500 taking higher level, the first paper was very fair and well-prepared students had a lot of scope to show their knowledge. This was the view of Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) subject representative Eamon Scully.
But, he said, less prepared candidates should also have been able to attempt everything. The first handful of short questions were on “bread and butter” issues, easing all students into the exam, he said.
The first higher-level paper focuses on the business of living, and students were brought through questions on wages, being self-employed, getting a mortgage for a first home, installing solar panels and consumer rights.
There were further questions about the improving Irish economy and, appropriately in Mr Scully’s view during the Euro 2016 tournament, club accounts for a soccer club.
“This paper had very practical questions. Stronger students would be able to give more business-oriented answers, whereas others would more likely state things in their own words,” he said.
One question in which students might have had to think on their feet asked why limits are placed on the amount that first-time house buyers can borrow.
David Duffy, education officer of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), said the first paper yesterday morning was very up-to-date. The question about economic growth and EU membership, for example, was very relevant to current issues.
He said there was a good choice of questions on the single paper faced by ordinary level candidates. Students usually enjoy questions on banking and budgeting, he said, and this year’s exam was no exception.
The paper was a good test of numeracy skills, as seen in final accounts and farm accounts questions.
On the second higher-level paper Mr Duffy said he thought a question on business ownership and sales promotion, based on the idea of renting housing to tenants, was very imaginative.
Mr Scully felt there were no surprises in Paper 2 and no major obstacles as far as he could see.
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