Comment/ analysis on Agricultural Science paper (Higher Level) by Donal Power, Agricultural Science teacher at The Institute of Education.
Overall it was a very nice one, very straightforward and any student who had done the past exam papers thoroughly would have been very happy with it. There were no real surprises in it at all. It really gave well prepared students an opportunity to express all the hard work they have done over the year.
Q1 – Short Questions
Most of the questions have come up previously other than perhaps part (f) which asked about structural characteristics of fern plants and pine trees. Some students may have had difficulty defining “interdependence” in ecology.
Q2- Soil Question
Again properly prepared students should be happy. Nothing new or unexpected came up and every student would have covered the concepts such as cation exchange and soil colloids in their preparation for this section.
Q3 Option One
Full question on potatoes Lovely question particularly for any student who covered potatoes in their projects aswell.
Q3 Option Two
Question on both dairy and beef husbandry, nothing taxing in this whatsoever.
Q4 Experiment Question
All the experiment options had come up before with the exception of part (a) determining mineral ash percentage in grass but again some students may have observed that this was identical to finding the mineral content in a soil sample.
Full question on sheep again those students who had sheep practical experience would have been very happy.
General crop question on fertiliser and factors affecting crop yields, the final part was on transpiration again nothing to cause difficulty.
Standard genetics question Part (c) was topical in that it discussed milk quota abolition and the subsequent advantages of sexed semen.
(a) N Cycle came up students should have known this backwards!!
(b) Grass question
(c) Usual distinguish between the pairs
Q9 Scientific Explanation Question
All of the statements to be explained have been asked before.