Biology (H) 2019: A broad but fair paper

Reaction to Leaving Cert 2019 Biology (Higher Level) by Susan Silke, Biology teacher at The Institute of Education.

A broad but fair paper. Language used was nice and clear. There were questions on large sections of the course. Some of the tougher questions on plant reproduction and protein synthesis would have given stronger students the opportunity to show their knowledge.

Section A: Short Questions:

Overall, the short questions were nice and straight-forward.

The photographs of the stages of cell division in Question 4 may have confused some students.

Section B: (Experiments):

A very nice selection of questions here.

Question 7: Continuing the trend of the last few years, five different practical experiments appeared within the one question.

Question 8: A straight-forward question on the production of alcohol by yeast.

Question 9- Part B (iii): Students would normally be asked one safety precaution here, but this year they were asked for two. This might have caught some students out. The questions were straight forward other than that.

Section C: (Long Questions): (4 out of 6)

Question 10, Part B was on ecology and invasive mammal species. Part B (iv) was an unusual question , which some students would have found challenging to answer.

Question 11 was on genetics. In Part B it was nice to see a whole question appear on protein synthesis. This is not an easy topic and students who had spent the time preparing it will be pleased. It was also nice to see, in Part C, a question on sex linkage, presented as a pedigree diagram.

Students who enjoy biochemistry will have liked Question 12 on metabolism, enzymes and photosynthesis.

Human reproduction made an appearance again this year in Question 13, after not appearing in 2018.

The question on the brain in Question 14 was very manageable, with a nice clear diagram.

It was nice to see a question on the development of the embryo sac in Question 15. This was a tough question, but well prepared students would have been well able for it.