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Leaving Cert Geography

Aoife – Higher Level

The day after the storm arrived, after yesterdays shock on the English Paper we were left wondering would there be any surprises on the Geography Paper today. I felt prepared before I went into the exam; the countless numbers of SRPs were learned and ready to be used in whatever way possible. Also the fact that the written paper is 80% of the grade eases a bit of the pressure!

When I first got the paper and looked through it I thought it was a fair paper, there were a few questions that were tricky but achievable. In the short questions the Aerial Photograph seemed to throw a few people as you had to turn it upside down and work on it from there relating to the Ordinance Survey Map of Carrick-on-Shannon. Other than that the short questions were straight forward and approachable, no surprises.

The Physical Geography questions covered a wide variety from earthquakes, folding to the ever present mans interaction. However to the dismay of some of my classmates there was no option for geothermal or for the well rehearsed feature of erosion of the Waterfall. I answered question 3, it was a question about how chemical weathering creates a limestone pavement in a karst region and how folding creates a distinctive landscape.

Next it was onto the Regional Geography, I was surprised to find that there was no Sketch Map of the Ordinance Survey Map as that is usually a very attainable 20 marks. In the Regional I did a question on how the physical landscape can define a region and how a primary economic activity, location, or transport has affected the development of an urban area in a European Area outside of Ireland. I felt that I was able to adapt material I had to these questions as they were quite broad.

I then had the Elective to choose from, we did the Patterns and Processes in the Human Environment so I had the lovely task of choosing between 10-12. I chose to do the question which was to pick out three functions of Carrick-on-Shannon from the aerial photograph and how the development of Technology has led to the growth of population. This was a very interesting question and after a quick brainstorm I found I had plenty to write on the subject.

Next it was onto the Geo-Ecology for me. The dreaded 80 marks. I was delighted to see that question 17 was asking how mans interaction has accelerated soil erosion. I had this essay in particular well rehearsed and I was very content as I finished up on my paper.


ISSU Commentary

The Euro crisis hit the Leaving Cert. yesterday as students were asked to explain the problem to examiners of the higher-level geography paper. Nearly half of all Leaving Cert students took geography at higher or ordinary level yesterday, and most reported satisfaction with the paper.

In the Higher Level Paper, the regional geography section was more specific than previous years. The elective section also saw the examiner depart from the usual treatment of regular topics, the question on European Union policy and its influence on regional development required very specific knowledge, according to many. The popular geo-ecology option also featured a slight departure from the norm. There were longer sections on trade and economics, the euro crisis, greenhouse gases and geographical history. There were also several map-reading and graph-analysis exercises.

Ordinary level was described as ‘as expected’


Please note: blog posts reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union. Blogs are updated daily by 6.30 pm on scheduled examination dates.

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