Exam Times: Business Subjects

This business subjects guide is crammed with revision techniques and practical advice for the Leaving Cert exams in June. Click here to download the full supplement >

Browse our tabs below to read top tips from some of our A1 students in Accounting, Business and Economics:



Aaran Tiedt, a student of The Institute of Education who achieved an A1 in his Leaving Cert Higher Level Accounting exam last year explains how he got top marks:

“Practice. Practice. Practice. I cannot get over how important repetition is in accounting. You can read over the notes again and again but if you don’t practice questions, you’ll be going in blind for the exam. I spent hours practicing questions until there were no more left in the book. But by the time the Leaving Certificate came around, I was ready. It didn’t matter what they asked me. No matter what adjustment came up, I had seen it at least once and didn’t have to waste any time trying to figure out what to do.

Time management is another big factor in this exam. And again, repetition is the key to this. It’s all well and good doing out a question for homework and getting it right. But if you can’t do it within the time limit then you’ll forfeit points straight away. You can only get marks if you put pen to paper. After all, the exam corrector has no idea if you know how to do the questions or not. They can only go on what you’ve written.

One of the fundamental parts of every accounting question is the idea of double entry. Most students overlook this as there is no actual question on just double entry. And this is one of the major pitfalls in accounting. I’ve seen other students spend hours trying to learn off how each adjustment affects the accounts so they can regurgitate the same method in exams. This can obviously work if the questions are the exact same. But if the question is slightly different, then your hours of learning go out the window. If you have a decent knowledge of double-entry, then understanding how to make adjustments becomes second nature. No matter how a question is phrased, you will be able to figure it out.

One last piece of advice is not to gamble. Every year, students look for patterns, but it’s not worth it! If your gamble doesn’t pay off and you can’t answer your four questions, you risk losing a minimum of 20%. This is too big a risk to play around with. So in conclusion, learn your basics, practice questions regularly, and do not leave yourself short on questions to answer! Do this and you will succeed in Leaving Certificate accounting.”



Chris Webb, a student of The Institute of Education who achieved an A1 in his Leaving Cert Higher Level Business exam last year shares his top revision tips:

“Like a number of Leaving Cert subjects, business is one in which you need to learn all the material because you can’t waffle on the day of the exam. Business requires many hours of practice on past exam questions and one of the most important tips I can give you is to be familiar with the way questions are phrased. Pay particular attention to the different verbs such as ‘evaluate’, ‘explain’, ‘illustrate’ etc. at the beginning of questions. Knowing the differences between what the examiner is asking for with each of these words is key to gaining full marks for your answers.

The ABQ section of the paper is worth a huge 20% so pay particular attention to the units being asked. When answering the ABQ always be sure to read the questions before reading the text, then underline or highlight any phrases you think you will need in your answer because quoting from the text is essential in this part of the paper.
Preparing for the short questions is simple and all you have to do is go back over the previous years’ papers as all these question are repeated year after year. This part of the paper is worth another 20% so it is good to see a question on the day that you have seen before.
Exam technique is another thing I found very important to get a high grade in business. It is a three hour paper but you have a lot to do in that time. Take about three or four minutes at the start of the exam to look over the long questions and see which ones you are going to answer. Then do the ABQ first. Make sure to have all your answers in the ABQ and long questions well-structured as this will make your answers clear for the examiner. Always state your point with a heading and then give a clear explanation of your answer.
Give yourself about 25-28 minutes to answer each long question and leave the short questions until last as they usually shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes. Be strict with yourself on time management.
Remember to know all your key definitions word for word and formulae for Break-even and Ratio Analysis. These will not be given to you on the day. Be familiar with the marking scheme, practice your exam technique and answer structures and you should do well.”



Sally Kiernan, a student of The Institute of Education who achieved an A1 in her Leaving Cert Higher Level Economics exam last year shares her secrets of exam success:

“If A1 in economics is your goal, it is definitely achievable. You must keep focused, ditch all the distractions and commit yourself to the weeks ahead. At this stage I believe all your work should be exam focused. Frequently attempting past questions and writing up your own concise notes from your learning material will contribute significantly towards your result. However to maximise your grade, I believe it is just as important to pay attention to current events, exam timing and presentation as well as to your study.
Economics in Ireland has been global news in the last decade. The Leaving Cert paper in June 2014 reflected how it expects students to keep up to date with changes in the economy. The paper asked students to ‘outline the possible implications for the Irish economy of having exited the Troika Bailout Programme’. Few text books are this current, so the responsibility is on the student to be aware of these changes in the economy and actively seek the statistics. In preparation for my exams I listened to current affairs programmes on the bus on the way to school every morning. I became more confident and familiar with current affairs and economic jargon which I ultimately used in my exam.
Fortunately the Economics paper is generous with time. Nevertheless this time has to be spent effectively. I found it beneficial to take ten minutes before I picked up a pen to read the paper through. This gave me a chance to pick my four long questions. In economics it is vital to read the questions thoroughly as they are often not as straight forward as they seem. Time should be allocated to all questions based on the weight of the marks. With your plan in place start answering the paper. I attempted the short questions first as they are worth a quarter of the paper. These questions should not be overlooked in your preparation or rushed on exam day.
The presentation of your script should be accessible for the examiner. Market structure graphs should be drawn clearly and with no ambiguity. Throughout your paper it should be clear that with each point that you make that you have two distinct facts to back up your point. In the exam I used a highlighter to highlight headings to make it obvious to the examiner. When marks are being allocated your presentation will likely go in your favour.
Best of luck in June.”