As more than 8,700 students sat German exams today, a “tricky” listening comprehension about a beard competition may have proven difficult to even the top students.
While a range of topical topics such as extreme weather and cyber hacking made an appearance during the higher level written section, there were a few surprises during the listening exam.
ASTI subject rep for German, Pamela Conway, said: “The listening proved to be tricky this year as speakers spoke very rapidly in parts and the bit about the beard competition in Germany may have proved difficult to even good higher level students.”
"The ordinary level paper took the mystery out of what kind of competition was being discussed by stating in the question it was a beard competition.
The speed of speaking posed some difficulties to both higher level and ordinary level students on the listening.
“The section on the listening on Austria's new gay marriage law was topical, as was the section on computer games addiction."
The first literary text on the higher level paper about a girl meeting a fascinating boy again was manageable, even if the ending about the boy’s dangerous smile was “a bit odd”, she added.
Students would have also found the second journalistic text interesting, as it featured the story of a boy who left on a world trip with just €50, she added.
The vocabulary was “straightforward” when it came to the ordinary level paper, Ms Conway said.
“The second text followed the theme of travels exhibited in the higher level paper, with a text about a group of unlikely students on a seven-day, 200 km kayak challenge.
"The final text was about Youtubers who built manned drones- another engaging topic of interest. It had the unusual title of ‘going to the bakery in the bathtub,” she added.
More than 9,000 students enjoyed "fair and reasonable" Construction Studies exams on Friday afternoon.
"Students would have been pleased with the wide variety of questions on both papers," said ASTI Construction Studies rep, James Howley, of St Nathy's College in Roscommon.
"There were plenty of opportunities for students to showcase their knowledge."
Both papers featured a strong focus on topical issues such as sustainable construction, low carbon footprints and the refurbishment of existing housing stock.
"The use of renewable energy and methods of reusing wastewater also would have made an appearance."
The last question on the paper asked students to discuss the best practice of building sustainable houses, he added.
"That is a broad question where students could draw from their knowledge of geography, science, and current affairs."
When it came to the ordinary level paper, the topics were "very much in line" with those featuring on the higher level paper, Mr Howley added.
"The same topics, different angle. I think it was a very reasonable paper overall."