Geography (H): A Fair Paper With Something For Everyone

Leaving Certificate Geography (H) Paper Analysis

Reaction to 2024 Leaving Certificate Geography (Higher Level) by Lesley Aslin, Geography teacher at The Institute of Education.


  • Something to suit everyone, with opportunities for H1 students to stand out and shine.
  • The biggest challenge will be keeping within the strict timing of the exam and not getting carried away with some of the more appealing questions.

Students will leave the Geography exam tired but relieved, knowing that the paper gave them a fair opportunity to display their knowledge and make the most of their preparation. The short questions of Part 1 offered the usual smattering of Physical Geography and map skills. While there were few moments that might cause a mild brow furrow, “the area of subzone V” for example, a quick glance at the map cleared it up nicely. Students are given marks for their best 10 of 12 answers and so most will have felt assured as they progress deeper into the paper.

Part 2 offered some lovely questions. Students will be delighted with the Tectonic heavy Physical Geography questions. This material, part of Core Unit 1, is covered right at the beginning of 5th year, when students are freshest and drawn to the drama of earthquakes and volcanoes. The adjustments to this year’s paper meant that students could really maximize on this familiar material and so many will feel really encouraged. Many will also be relieved to see erosion reappear following a pattern from recent years. Students who hoped to do Regional Geography (Core Unit 2) will be pleased with Questions 4 and 5. There was nothing out of the blue so a prepared student would recognise what was demanded and had the chance to make informed choices to best reflect their knowledge.



Elective 5 was particularly topical, focusing on migration and migration policy. Those high scoring students who really grasped the material and are alert to contemporary news and discussions will have found a chance to distinguish themselves. While generally manageable, a student who can think beyond the examples in the textbook will be really pleased.

Of particular note was the Geo-Ecology Option, which was a real gift to the students. In previous years students would be anxious about the precise combination of topics to include in their essays. However, this question clearly laid out the objectives, allowing students to jump right in. In a question for which structure is so important, this was really helpful. The main challenge was ensuring that students kept an eye on the exam hall clock and not let themselves get carried away with the more appealing questions.