What does it take to get a H1 in Higher Level Home Economics?
Alison Devlin, a past pupil from The Institute of Education who achieved a H1 in Leaving Cert higher level home economics, tells us how she aced the exam.
Know the detail
Home economics is a very broad course and the key to success is in the detail. Have a wide range of knowledge of each topic and connect all topics during the exam.
Understand the terms
Make sure you know the difference between comment, evaluate and identify and become confident in what they are asking you to answer.
The short questions
Detail is vital to this section too, as each question is worth 6 marks (1.5% of your overall grade). One word answers are not enough. To obtain full marks in the short questions you will find yourself writing all over the page.
Use tables when answering
I found tables helpful as it keeps you focused and you are able to visualise what your answers should look like. This is particularly helpful in Question 1A.
Long essay answers are not necessary. Just use precise bullet point answers.
Planning is essential as the exam is very demanding time wise. Map your time out for each section and stick to this. I suggest not reading through the exam but get stuck in as you need every minute.
Reaction to 2023 Home Economics Exam
Each year, our exceptional teachers give their take on the Leaving Certificate higher level exam papers. Read what Sandra Cleary, home economics teacher at The Institute of Education, had to say about the 2023 exam below.
Reaction to Leaving Certificate 2023 Home Economics by Sandra Cleary, home economics teacher at The Institute of Education.
In many ways this was an exam in reverse; an exam that discarded standard predictions. For example, topics that were highly expected for Section B’s compulsory question, like lipids and carbohydrates, found themselves appearing in the short questions of Section A. This was just first of a series of curveballs that could find many students unnerved.
A further source potential source of frustration in Section A was the narrow focus of the Home Management short questions in which four of the five questions were drawn from only one topic, Finance. Students with a strong command of the material won’t be phased, but those who were anticipating a more balanced spread will be disappointed.
The surprises kept coming as Section B drew together the extremely recent and the distant in a way that likely undermined the expected cycles of material that some would rely on when deciding where to allocate their efforts. Section B reused the same National Teen Food Survey as last year and, while the questions were straightforward, many were likely hoping that a new source might take its place. The reiteration of Vitamins two years in row meant that there was a clear similarity with last year’s paper. Not inherently a problem for the well-practiced, but a particular repetition nonetheless.
Students who did their due diligence in revising the past papers will have found their determination richly rewarded as Question 3 brought in questions not seen since 2009 (part b) and 2006 (part c). Question 4 asked an aspect of the topic not seen in a decade. Yet these topics also found themselves alongside contemporary topics and concerns. Budgeting and financial planning were key elements of the paper appearing across the board, reflecting current crises around the cost of living and the environment. This meant that paper really embraced and rewarded those that covered the whole syllabus and grasped just how interconnected Home Economics questions are.
Despite these curveballs, the paper was fundamentally fair. There were no questions just pulled out of the sky, no need to improvise. Not a single question’s phrasing should cause confusion. If you prepared everything you were asked to, nothing more was demanded. The students who followed the course to the letter of the law will be well rewarded, but those who tried to second guess the examiner will likely be upset.
Sandra Cleary, home economics teacher at The Institute of Education, shares her secrets to exam success.
Be familiar with the syllabus
Download a copy of the syllabus from the internet and every time you have a section of the course revised, refer to the syllabus to see if all of the topics have been covered during revision.
Understand the marking scheme
To work out the marking scheme highlight the key terms in the question and look at the allocated marks. For example, if asked to ‘give an account’ for 8 marks – give 2 points @ 4 marks each. If asked to ‘list’ for 8 marks – give 4 points @ 2 marks each.
Prepare topics well for the compulsory sections
This will ensure you have a ‘bank’ of completed questions to revise before the exam.
For example, Section B, Question 1 study all of the six nutrients and practice analyzing tables and charts from previous Leaving Cert papers.
In Section C, study all the topics listed on the syllabus for the chosen elective, as part (a) of each Elective is compulsory.
Complete 2 – 3 short questions from Section A every night from now until the exam. Allow approximately 2 minutes for each question.
Practice long questions
Practice long questions from past papers for homework. This is very important! Answer these questions in a realistic time to prepare for the pressure of the exam. Look up the marking scheme for your answers when you are finished.