In recent years, a lot has changed in the way Leaving Cert students are assessed. Since 2020, there have been frequent adjustments to assessment arrangements as a result of a loss of teaching hours, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
If you are a Leaving Certificate student sitting your exam, or a parent/guardian supporting a student taking their leaving certificate examination, this guide provides an overview of what we currently know about the up-coming Agricultural Science Leaving Certificate exam paper. You will also come to learn where to find reliable revision resources, practice questions, mark schemes and even advice for revising common topics.
The Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science exam
Understanding the structure and requirements of your written examination will be especially important for students that have been affected by recent adjustments in assessment arrangements. Your exam paper may be different to previous years and you may be sitting an official written exam for the first time for the Senior Cycle. To maintain familiarity of the exam paper structure, the State Examinations Commission will aim to keep the exam structure similar to previous years, so as not to throw students off on exam day. The leaving Cert Ag Science examination paper will be separated into two sections:
Section 1 usually consists of short-answer questions. For this section, you will need to revise definitions, any formulae and key scientific terms. You will have an internal choice of questions in this section.
Section 2 usually consists of long-answer questions. In this section, you will be required to demonstrate a complete understanding of the topic. Revise scientific explanations and experimental design for this section. Candidates will also have internal choice of questions in this section.
Studying for Leaving Cert Agricultural Science
In order to excel in your Agricultural Leaving Certificate written examination, candidates will need to demonstrate comprehension of the curriculum, including your practical investigation, experimental design, soil science, food science and animal/plant physiology. Students will need to use appropriate scientific vocabulary to express your understanding in both familiar and unfamiliar contexts in agriculture. You will also need to practice critical thinking and evaluation. A multi-faceted approach to revision will help you cover all grounds.
- Take notes in your own words so that you are synthesising information and not just copying from your textbook.
- Learn definitions - use glossaries, and make flash cards to test yourself and your classmates.
- Learn scientific and biological processes such as photosynthesis or the nitrogen cycle. Use diagrams, and re-create your own versions of these diagrams to help you remember the different stages and the components involved.
- Make yourself familiar with the relevant practical investigations. Learn the methods and the results, think critically about why these methods were chosen and evaluate the results. Also, think about ways that the experiment could be improved.
- Practice a variety of exam questions: You will encounter many different types of Leaving Cert exam questions in your paper, so make sure to practice both long and short questions. Use past papers and revision material to cover all types of questions. Practice applying your knowledge at the end of each chapter.
- Use mark schemes to assess your practice answers. Also, refer to example answers or answer sheets. This will help you understand how to express your knowledge logically.
Agricultural Science study material
Schoolbooks.ie offers a range of study materials to help you achieve your revision goals. Our Breaking Ground textbook has been specifically designed with the Leaving Cert specification in mind. It is also essential that students are actively learning by applying knowledge in a multitude of ways. This is why we have created Revise Wise as a complete revision guide for the Agricultural Science Leaving certificate and a Workbook which can be used alongside any course textbooks. These help students build exam skills and apply knowledge. Here we compare the features of the Breaking Grounds textbook, the Revise Wise revision guide, and the Ag Science workbook.
Breaking Ground, new edition textbook, has been written specifically for the new Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science specification.
Full course coverage in detail. Learning Objectives, definitions and key points for each chapter. Exam advice and practice questions. Detailed scientific explanations and experiments. A Revision Study Plan and Exam Paper Analysis Chart
Topic-by-topic revision incorporating all exam question styles. Exam guidelines, including marking schemes and tips. Past exam questions and sample answers. Ordinary Level and Higher Level students. Can be used with any Agricultural Science textbook.
Past exam papers
Improving your exam skills is part and parcel with practicing exam papers. Our Agricultural Science revision material, such as the Revise Wise textbook and the Workbook, provides opportunities to practice exam questions within and at the end of each chapter to test your knowledge.
The questions in the examination are structured in a variety of ways. Some are long-form essay questions, and others might be short-answer questions that may require definitions or multiple-choice answers. By using past exam papers and mark schemes, you will be able to recognise what your markers are looking for with certain question types.
In addition to the exam questions that are provided in the Schoolbooks.ie material, you can access past papers and mark schemes for Agricultural Science Leaving Certificate here. It is good practice to complete timed papers to get a feel for how long it takes you to complete a whole paper. Since the exam structure has recently changed, make sure you check with your teachers about the specific structure of your final exam.
Exam question predictions
It can be useful when students are studying and practicing exam questions to have an idea of what kinds of questions and topic areas are likely to come up. Predictions can be made based on historical topics to help students as much as possible. Refer to exam predictions once you have revised the whole syllabus in depth and you have additional revision time to spare before the exam. Common topics are listed below, and many topics tend to come up as long or short questions.
- Animal disease- practice short questions preferentially.
- Animal physiology - practice short questions preferentially.
- Dairy cattle - practice both long and short questions.
- Classification of organisms- practice both short and long questions.
- Crop production- practice both short and long questions.
- Describe an experiment- practice both long and short questions.
- Fertilisers, pollution, forestry and the environment- practice short answer questions preferentially.
- Genetics- practice long answer questions preferentially.
- Scientific explanation- practice long answer questions preferentially.
- Grassland- practice both long and short answer questions.
- Sheep- practice both long and short answer questions.
- Soil science- practice long answer questions preferentially.
Predictions are only based on historical topics and are not a true reflection of what will come up in your exam; therefore, it is still important to practice a wide range of question types for each topic.