The Ag Science Leaving Certificate aims to teach students how to utilise the Earth’s resources sustainably. Plants, animals and ecosystems associated with agriculture are studied and investigated. The course is assessed through a final examination and an investigative study.
If you are a Leaving Certificate student sitting your Agricultural Science exam or a parent/guardian supporting a student, this guide provides an overview of what to expect from the upcoming Agricultural Science Leaving Certificate exam paper structure. 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 is important for students to be prepared for their final exam on the day. The Higher Level Ag Science examination paper consists of only one section, while the Ordinary Level paper is separated into two sections:
This paper consists of nine questions, and students will be required to answer any six questions. In addition, Question 1 offers further internal choice. Question 1 is worth 60 marks, while, the others are worth 48 marks. To achieve the highest number of marks, you are advised to complete Question 1.
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 be required to answer six out of seven questions from this section. Each question from this section is worth 20 marks.
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. You will be required to answer three out of six long questions from this section, each worth 60 marks.
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 Agricultural Science 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 their understanding in both familiar and unfamiliar contexts. 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 to synthesise information and not just copy from your textbook.
- Learn definitions – use glossaries, and make flashcards 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 Cert Ag Science specification.
Past exam papers
Improving your exam skills is part and parcel of practicing exam papers. Our Agricultural Science revision material, such as the 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.
It is good practice to complete timed papers to get a feel for how long it takes to complete a whole paper. Since the exam structure has been adjusted for 2021 and 2022, check with your teachers about the specific structure of your final exam and consider this when practicing past papers.
Exam question predictions
It can be useful when Agricultural Science 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 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-medium questions preferentially.
- Animal physiology - practice short-medium questions preferentially.
- Dairy cattle – practice both long and short questions.
- Farm crops - practice both short and long questions.
- Describe an experiment – Practice long 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.