Leaving Cert Physics fair but reaction to modern questions mixed

Accounting paper required familiarity with past exam questions and sample papers

The physics exam taken by around 7,800 students marked the beginning of the third week of Leaving Certificate 2017.

The majority were taking the higher level paper and their exam was fair and offered plenty of choice, according to Teresa Considine.

The subject spokeswoman for the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) said the experiment questions in the first section of the exam were very much in line with those posed for students in previous years.

There were no surprises on the longer questions either, with the option to answer on particle physics available again this year in just half of the final questions.

After many years as the subject of a full question, many students were upset in 2016 when only half a question was devoted to it.

Ms Considine said there were probably mixed views on the inclusion of two fulls and half of another about modern physics.

She said the paper featured a nice mechanics question and she was pleased to see it included elements of the earlier part of the course, rather than being confined to simple harmonic motion.

Students who also take applied maths may have had an advantage with the mechanics element of the final question on the exam.

For ordinary level students, Ms Considine said there was good choice on their paper yesterday.

She said the exam was consistent with the standard of previous years, and so most candidates would have found nothing out of the ordinary.

Almost similar numbers were entered for Leaving Certificate accounting and Teachers’ Union of Ireland subject spokeswoman Jane O’Keeffe said the higher level question about a sole trader’s departmental final accounts may have been unexpected.

However, Ms O’Keeffe felt the paper presented a good mix of well-phrased and well-structured questions: “If the student took time to read the questions carefully, they would have been able to select the questions that best suited their knowledge.”

ASTI’s subject spokesman Eamon Scully said that any student who wished to do well needed to have been well-practised at the range of different types of questions which were examined.

Any student who did not have that good experience of past and sample papers would have been caught out, particularly in the latter stages of many questions, he said.

It was the first time he recalled the departmental final account appearing as a short question on a higher level exam, although it was not a particularly difficult question.

Mr Scully thought weaker students would have been able to make a good stab at part of an interpretation question which asked why workers would be interested in financial information of the company employing them.

It was a long time since he had seen Vat entries in a tabular statement question, but there were no tricks in a very fair production budget question.

He said the ordinary level exam, similar to higher level, was ideal for any student who was well practised on sample papers.

Ms O’Keeffe said ordinary level students who had covered the syllabus and revised reasonably well would have been able to manage the questions with ease.


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