Much has recently changed in the way students sit their Leaving Certificate exams, and assessment arrangements have frequently been changed since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are taking a Business Studies Leaving Cert exam in the coming academic year or you are a parent or carer supporting a student taking their exam, you will want to know what to expect from the examination paper. Unfortunately, due to the unpredictability of recent exams - it is difficult to make definitive predictions.
This article will cover what we know so far regarding the structure of the exam paper for Leaving Cert Business. You will learn where to find reliable resources such as revision materials, practice questions and mark schemes. You may also benefit from exam question predictions based on historical topics.
The Leaving Cert Business exam
Understanding the structure and the requirements of your upcoming exam is especially important because of the recent adjustments to the written exam papers. Your exam may be different to previous years and you may be sitting your first official written exam for your Senior Cycle Leaving Certificate. The State Examinations Commission has aimed to keep the layout of the paper similar to previous years, to maintain familiarity if students have practiced exam questions prior to sitting their official exam.
Higher level Leaving Cert
The Higher Level paper historically has consisted of three sections to be completed:
Section 1 usually consists of short-answer questions; you may be required to give definitions or carry out calculations. You will also have a choice of questions from this section.
Section 2 has always been the Applied Business Question (ABQ); this is a mandatory long question. You will need to have a deeper understanding of the course as this question will cover three different business topics. You may also need to provide evidence of your understanding using quotes, so revising for the ABQ is important.
Section 3 consists of a selection of long questions. Long questions may be separated into sub-sections, so it is still important to remember your definitions and formulae. You will be required to go into more depth with your answers than in section 1. Candidates will have an internal choice of questions from this section. However, in order to ensure students have covered all grounds, you will be required to answer questions from different parts of the section.
Ordinary level Leaving Cert
The Ordinary Level paper has historically been divided into only two sections, and the sections are similar to those of the Higher Level paper.
Section 1 usually consists of short-answer questions - you may be required to give definitions or carry out calculations. You will also have a choice of questions from this section. The Ordinary Level paper will require candidates to answer fewer questions from a greater selection compared to Higher Level students.
Section 2consists of a selection of long questions. Long questions may be separated into sub-sections, so it is still important to remember your definitions and formulae. You will be required to go into more depth with your answers than in section 1. Candidates will have an internal choice of questions from this section. However, in order to ensure students have covered all grounds, you will be required to answer questions from different parts of the section. Again, Ordinary Level students will be given greater question choice while being required to answer fewer questions compared to Higher Level students.
Studying for the Leaving Certification Business exam
- Write notes in your own words so that you synthesise your course information instead of copying down.
- Learn definitions- these will be useful in section 1 with lots of short-answer questions. Make revision cards and test yourself and your classmates.
- Practice your calculations and formulae- such as ratio analysis and profitability calculations.
- Be familiar with relevant quotes from your business textbook to use in your ABQ.
- Practice exam questions, particularly ABQs, as these will cover three different topic areas and are compulsory to complete. You may want to practice these after studying the entire syllabus.
- Check mark schemes after you have practiced a paper or a question so you can understand what the examiner is looking for and where you have historically made errors.
Leaving Cert Business study material
In order to prepare for your Leaving Cert business examination, it's important to be equipped with the relevant study materials for the new exam. You may have access to resources such as textbooks, but it is important to use a variety of study materials and methods to build a greater depth of practical knowledge and exam know-how. Schoolbooks.ie offers a range of study materials to help students achieve their Leaving Cert qualification. You will want to use workbooks alongside your course texts to practice short questions.
We can also offer a complete study pack that includes a Leaving Cert Business textbook, practice ABQs, additional revision activities and practice exam questions. The table below explores the study materials offered by Schoolbooks.ie.
Business definitions and explanations. Preparation for short answers. Pocket-sized.
Ahead for Business - Textbook Exam-standard definitions. Recent and relevant examples. Jargon Buster and Number Cruncher features. Exam questions organised by topic. Dedicated ABQ section. Past Higher level and Ordinary level exam questions.
Ahead For Exams - Activity, Exam and ABQ book: Activities for each chapter. Past exam questions. Sample exam questions by topic. Exam advice. ABQ preparation.
A complete text covering all the material for the Ordinary and Higher level Leaving Certificate Examinations:
Summary points provided. Previous exam questions and new exam-style questions. Applied Business Questions are included. Definitions of key Business terms.
Leaving Cert Business exam papers
Using past exam papers in your Leaving Cert revision is an important part of preparing to sit your written examination. Schoolbooks.ie can provide practice exam questions in the Ahead For Exams activity book. Past exam questions organised by topic, sample exam answers, exam tips and ABQ preparation. Use practice exam questions at the end of each chapter to apply what you have learned to an exam scenario.
Additional Leaving Cert Business exam papers questions can be found here if you wish to practice an entire Leaving Cert exam paper using a marking scheme. It is highly recommended that you use the marking schemes provided. Due to the changes in assessment arrangements, make sure you speak to your teacher to check the structure of your written examination.
Leaving Cert Business exam predictions
Topic predictions may help you to prioritise topics once you have studied all units in depth. The most common topics are listed below - they may be more likely to appear as long or short-answer questions:
- Consumer protection & legislation- practice long and short questions.
- Industrial relations & contracts- practice short-answer questions preferentially.
- Communication & I.T- practice both long and short questions.
- Management, skills & activities- practice both long and short questions but short questions preferentially.
- Business accounts & ratio analysis- practice both long and short questions.
- Taxation- practice both long and short questions.
- Marketing- Practice short questions preferentially.
- Starting a business & business plans- practice both long and short questions.
- Types of business- practice both long and short questions.
- International business and trade- practice short questions preferentially.
- The EU- practice both long and short questions.
Make use of a range of study materials that are available to you, including textbooks, revision activities, past questions, and exam advice, before using exam predictions. Once you have covered all topics in-depth, use exam predictions as guidance for additional exam practice. Predictions are not a definitive guide to what will come up in the exam, so make sure to practice a range of question types for each topic.