Male Junior Certificate pupils had a busier day as only around one-sixth of those doing woodwork and technical graphics are female.
More than 17,000 candidates were registered with the State Examinations Commission for the woodwork paper, worth one-third of total marks after earlier completion of project work.
Patrick Curley, subject spokesman for the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI), said that a typical design question dealt with a wall-mounted unit for candles.
Every class in the country would have covered the topic of manufactured boards dealt with in another question, and the regularly-used jack plane was the subject of a hand tools question.
Only students with specialised knowledge might have done either of the optional questions on lathe work in the making of a rocking chair or a carved wooden duck.
Teachers’ Union of Ireland woodwork spokesman Michael Leyden said the exam was structured to reward candidates with wide exposure to the syllabus. He praised the quality of graphics as a very good aid to students.
One of the short questions asked for a sketch of a different timber conversion method to one shown on the paper, a different way to establish student knowledge.
He thought well-prepared candidates would have done well in the longer questions, although many would have been tested by the very precise answer sought in relation to the axonometric projection of a treadmill.
Mr Leyden said the ordinary-level paper was fair and covered a wide range of topics, with a layout that followed the format of previous years.
Mr Curley said the exam would have rewarded stronger students, and thought a wood-turning question about an acorn-shaped birdhouse was lovely.
A three-hour exam faced Junior Certificate students of higher-level woodwork, and Mr Leyden said one question in the first section was a good test of their spatial reasoning skills.
He said well-prepared candidates would have fared well in the second section, but the questions would have kept candidates busy right to the end of the exam.
The second question in particular would have exercised them for quite some time as they had to draw two rotations.
ASTI subject spokesman Seamus Cahalan said that anyone with a good overview of the course would be easily able to attempt 10 of the 15 opening short questions.
But for the long questions, Mr Cahalan agreed, students found it very hard to finish on time even thought the content was not too difficult.
A good few questions required a lot of repetition of activities, such as the two rotations in a question on a jewellery box, and another about a megaphone.
Mr Cahalan felt that an isometric drawing question might have been a problem for students trying to stick to a time plan.
He said the ordinary-level paper was clearly laid out and would test the upper achievers at that level, but most students would be able to show their knowledge of the course.
Mr Leyden said it was a fair exam, although some students might have been particularly challenged to complete a long question based on a drawing of an angry bird.
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