Geography (H): A lovely exam paper that was balanced & fair to students

Reaction to Leaving Certificate 2021 Geography (Higher Level) by Michael Doran, Geography teacher at The Institute of Education

A lovely exam paper that was very balanced and fair to students.

This paper shows how flexible and responsive the Geography course is and how integrated it is with relevant, topical issues.

Changes to the exam this year meant that students had more time, and for the first time ever did not have to panic their way through answers.

In part 2 of the exam, they normally have to answer 4 questions, one from each of 4 sections. This year, they had to answer 3 questions, from 2 sections.


The usual spread of short questions appeared on physical geography, ordnance survey map skills and aerial photography skills.

The questions were very fair, and hopefully students took advantage of the extra time and, with less pressure on them, moved through the questions carefully.


Physical geography would have been a particularly popular section this year. It forms a large part of the Junior Cycle syllabus and is something most students would have covered early in 5th year.

Students would have been very happy to see land form development and the deposition process appear here as they would have put a lot of work into these topics.

The popular topics of rocks, landscapes and human interaction appeared in question 2. Isostasy, another favoured topic, appeared in question 3.


For students doing regional geography, there was a pretty fair choice here.

Question 4c was nice and topical and allowed students to refer to Brexit, immigration and environmental issues.


Economic Elective
In the Economic Elective, the regular questions came up on multinational companies and European Union policy.

Environmental issues featured again, and there was a lovely question relating to renewable energy and the conflict of interest between the environment and the economy.

Human Elective
Again, there was excellent choice in this section.

There was a particularly nice question on the impact of migration problems on cities in the developing world.



There were no major surprises in this section.

Popular topics appeared including soil forming processes and the Biome, which dealt with human impact. Students would have been very happy to see these questions appear.