He said the higher level paper covered the entire syllabus, with a balance of easier and more searching questions. Most students should have been pleased with it and those who had revised well should expect to get good grades.
Mr King felt the full course was also covered on the ordinary level paper and students who found one topic difficult could have made up for it by choosing another question. He said the language was appropriate for ordinary level candidates and most students.
Michael Moriarty for the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland said higher level students who were well prepared should have done well, as there were no surprises. One of just a few difficulties was a question asking why the pupil in a photograph of an eye appeared black, something which may not have been expected.
Another question was based on an experiment about the solubility of a gas in water, something students would not have done in school but the questions based on it were fine.
Mr Moriarty said the ordinary level paper appeared straightforward and contained nothing too tricky.
TUI’s Denis Magner said the first section of the higher level Leaving Certificate biology paper was very straightforward apart from a slightly abstract question about aerobic respiration. In the experiments section, he liked a question about enzymes and students should have been well able to do two questions as required.
A DNA question should have been very popular, although Mr Magner felt there was a difficult question asking students if they thought the trend of the myxomatosis virus, which died out after being used to kill rabbits in the 1950s, might also happen in relation to HIV.
Lily Cronin for the ASTI said students had a good choice of topics in the higher level paper, although they had to depend on memory skills for experiment questions. She said a competition and ecology questions about mites would have been fine for most students and they would also have liked the human genetics parts, in what was a long exam.
She said the ordinary level paper was well laid-out and covered a broad range of topics from the course.
Mr Magner said there were no difficulties in the opening short questions and there was a lovely question about a yeast mould experiment. He felt that overall the paper was much easier than previous years.
Melanie O’Sullivan of the ASTI said yesterday’s Junior Certificate religious education exams were fair but the ordinary level paper was quite long. The higher level test included questions on an internet chat room conversation with easily understandable language.
Leaving Certificate art students had their written exam in the afternoon and Jane Campbell of the ASTI had mixed feelings about the higher level paper. Some questions were very specific, with a limited choice of artists or designers.
A question about Bellamont House in Cavan was limiting as students would not have learned about it, though they knew about its architect who designed Parliament House in Dublin.
At ordinary level, Ms Campbell was a bit surprised by a question about a work by sculptor John Burke.
Students were asked about his Red Cardinal work on Dublin’s Baggot Street, including a question about location, but it was not clear to students where it is actually situated.