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More challenging than usual but top marks for topicality

By: 
Katherine Donnelly - Irish Independent

FULL marks for topicality on the Leaving Certificate Geography Higher Level paper, which, among other things, featured the recent Haitian earthquake and Irish unemployment rates.

Overall, it was a fair paper with a good range of topics, said teacher Jimmy Staunton of the ASTI and Sligo Grammar School.

Michael Doran of the Institute of Education said: "The examiner has remained consistent, delivering papers that are fair with no attempts to 'trick' or confuse candidates."

Dr Tom Hunt, of TUI and Mullingar Community College, thought the paper was good, if "a little more challenging than usual".

Mr Staunton commented on a change in the short questions section.

Normally, question 2 on ordnance survey has four parts but this year there were six -- while in question 7, there were eight boxes to be filled, rather than four, so it took longer.

He said most students at his school were still in the exam hall when the time was up.

Question 8(c), on patterns and processes in economic activities, was about how conflict can arise between local and global interests when a resource is exploited for economic reasons. He thought the Shell to Sea campaign in Mayo was a particularly good example to use on this.

Regional geography "was very similar to previous years' and there was a good choice," said Mr Staunton. The choice could not have been broader in the culture question, where students were asked to write about any region they had studied.

Other popular issues that featured were urban sprawl, the effect of globalisation on a developing country and an EU policy that has influenced Ireland's economic development.

"These are things that students are familiar with," he said.

- Katherine Donnelly

Irish Independent