Amendments to this year's Leaving Cert Chemistry paper meant students had plenty of choices, while high-speed trains and the Disney film Encanto made an appearance for some students studying Spanish, in a well-received exam.
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The higher-level Chemistry paper was “fairly straightforward” with a wide range of questions covered, according to Christopher Hegarty, subject representative with the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI).
“The amendments meant students had to answer six out of 11 questions, so there was a lot of choice. It was mostly straightforward.”
Question 6 was “very relevant” focusing on electric and hybrid-electric cars, and Dublin Bus' testing of hydrogen fuel‐cell electric double‐decker buses as part of Ireland’s climate action strategy.
Students were also asked about atomic structure, methanol, electrochemical reactions, and photodissociation.
The ordinary level paper also offered students plenty of choices. Questions here were themed around topics including ethene and hydrocarbon compounds. One question was themed around MOXIE, the NASA Perseverance Rover that landed on Mars in 2021.
“The reasonably prepared student would have fared very well," Mr Hegarty said. “Overall, both papers were very fair."
The higher-level Spanish paper was “very accessible”, according to David McArdle, subject representative with the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI).
“Overall, I thought the paper was very accessible. It wasn’t overly difficult, and the vocabulary in it was very easy to understand. From the students I’ve been talking to, they found the paper one of the easier ones in recent years, from all the practices they done in the past.”
The journalistic text comprehension focused on Diana Trujillo, a Columbian woman working for NASA, while the second comprehension focused on how work is changing. “The questions to go along with these were quite straightforward.”
The three essays that came up have all similarly come up in the past, he added. These topics included ‘work is not the most important thing’, ‘changes are positive’ and ‘everything is possible with technology.’”
“A lot of students would have prepared essays in the past ranging around those topics,” he said. “There was a similar title a few years ago, something along the lines of ‘life isn’t all about work’ so they would have had the vocabulary for that.”
A formatting issue that comes up every year asks students to write between 80 and 150 words for this answer, according to Mr Hegarty.
The students he spoke to found the listening exam to be a “very good pace”.“The students I spoke to said the tape was very well made, and they were able to hear very clearly.”
The ordinary level paper was similar to a “very challenging, old Junior Cert paper.” “Again, it would have been a very straightforward paper, and easily accessible.”
Topics would have featured in prep for the oral exams. Question topics included a high-speed train in Spain, as well as the Disney movie ‘Encanto’.
“They also had to do a letter or an email, picking five out of the eight points to write about. The final section was the diary entry, and topics like the weather and food came up. Overall it was very straightforward."