Leaving Cert: Brexit, budget and airlines but nothing too taxing

Questions on Brexit, budget airlines, and the environment awaited students who sat the economics Leaving Cert exams yesterday — but thankfully none of the questions proved to be too taxing.

Gabija Ivanovaite and Emilija Giniotyte relax after finishing the music paper in Abbey Community College in Waterford City. Picture: Patrick Browne

Meanwhile, those sitting the music Leaving Cert also found that the exam hit all the right notes, with few surprises to throw anyone off key.

The 5,428 students who sat higher-level economics, along with the 465 who took the ordinary level paper will be ‘generally very happy’ with the exams, which posed few surprises, according to ASTI subject spokesperson Bairbre Kennedy.

She said students coming out of the exam gave very positive and confident responses, and that both papers’ questions were straightforward, uncomplicated, and rewarded consistent learners.

Somewhat surprisingly, Brexit did not appear on the higher level paper, though students were asked to explain the concept of a customs union. However the ordinary level exam asked students what is meant by the term Brexit, to explain tariffs and quotas, and to “State and explain one economic challenge, other than tariffs and quotas, which an Irish exporting firm may have following Brexit.”

At higher level, the improving budget deficit was used as the basis for a number of questions, as were greenhouse gas emission projections which indicate that Ireland will fail to meet the EU 2020 targets.

Students were asked to provide economic reasons why protection of the environment is an increasing concern for governments, and to outline measures that individuals, firms, and the Irish Government, can implement in an attempt to reach their targets.

Ms Kennedy said this question would have been welcomed by students also taking geography.

Those taking ordinary level were asked about the consumer battle Ryanair is facing from other low-cost carriers such as Norwegian Airlines, and were tasked with outlining the possible advantages for consumers and a challenge for producers as a result of increased competition.

Nearly 6,500 students sat the music Leaving Cert yesterday, 6,140 opting for the higher level paper while 321 sat the ordinary level exam.

The listening exam included questions on the Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture by Tchaikovsky, Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, and ‘The Flying Theme’ from ET by John Williams.

Mary McFadden of the ASTI said the exam was “very fair”, with extra questions that gave students a broader scope to show their knowledge.

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