Politics & Society (H): A strong, topical paper with a pandemic focus

Reaction to Leaving Certificate 2021 Politics & Society (Higher Level) by Paul McAndrew and Dr. Jerome Devitt, Politics & Society teachers at The Institute of Education.

This was a strong, topical paper with a pandemic focus.

Questions were clear and fair and covered various aspects of the course. Due to changes to the exam this year, students had plenty of choice and more time to answer questions.

Students needed to adapt their knowledge to questions across the paper- learnt off essays would have been of little use.

In a world where there is a lot of misinformation, this subject gives students the tools to try and figure out what truth actually is.

Section A: Short Answer Questions

Due to changes this year, students had to answer 10 out of 15 questions. Normally they must answer 10 out of 12.

Questions in this section were well set out. As long as students gave concise answers and backed up the points they made, they would do well here.

Question 1a was a nice question on the advantages and disadvantages of coalition governments.

Section B – Data Based Questions

Due to changes this year, students had more time to answer this section. All questions in the section had to be answered.

Answers were based on a critical analysis of two documents that both focused on the reliability of information provided by different sources during the pandemic.

The documents were much more dense than in previous years and the students would have needed the extra time to read and reread them.

The questions were straightforward and required the student to critically analyse the two documents.

The questions focused on the documents provided, unlike other years, where question G normally asks students to bring in external knowledge to answer the question.

Section C – Discursive Essays

Due to changes this year, students only had to answer 1 question in this section. Normally they must answer 2. The number of questions to choose from was also increased.

The questions covered the various aspects of the course and were fair and well thought out.

Question 3, on the social contract, was nice and topical and similar to questions on previous papers.

Question 7, on the gender pay gap, was topical and challenging, and really required students to think and adapt their knowledge to their answer.