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Geoecology Leaving Cert Geography Essays

Don't throw it all away - your mock exam papers that is. They can tell you more about the gaps you need to fill before the State exams this summer than anything else.

At the end of the mock examination process, you will have the most valuable resource possible in the form of the corrected scripts returned to you. These will help you to improve your results in the State examinations in June. Many of you will simply deposit these scripts deep in your school bag, where they will never see the light of day again. If you take this course of action, your mocks have been of little real value to you.

Your corrected scripts are a road map to your best possible result in June. They contain within them all of the evidence of what you did well and what you did badly.


  • Where you allocated time appropriately to each section of each question
  • Where you addressed the question asked, or where you drifted into writing irrelevant material which only had some loose association with the question.
  • Where nerves and stress led you to answer poorly, when a more careful approach could have paid rich dividends.
  • How prepared you are to meet the standard of answering required in June.
  • To conclude, how you analyse the feedback you receive will determine whether your mocks act as a catalyst for a greatly improved performance in June or are a wasted opportunity.


  • Study the following topics in detail: proteins, lipids, vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates and water.
  • Food commodities: alternative proteins (their nutritive and dietetic value), meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk and milk products, cereals, nuts, fruit and vegetables, fats and oils.
  • Food labelling, food preservation, food additives, food hygiene, and food safety. National Agencies for food study/food hygiene legislation (HACCP) ISO 9000.
  • Household technologies, large and small appliances.
  • Consumer studies and consumer laws, components of management (inputs, outputs and throughputs).
  • Types of mortgage, forms of credit and savings schemes.
  • With regard to your chosen elective, practise past paper questions and check your answer against the marking schemes available on www.examinations.ie
  • Finally, practise both short and long questions, on past examination papers.


  • Practise previous examination questions and use the State Examination Commission marking schemes to check the quality of your work.
  • Core questions: In answering these questions ensure that you are able to refer to appropriate case studies at both national and international levels.
  • Attempt all of the short questions, as you will be marked out of your best eight.
  • In physical geography study a “landform question”.
  • Study the three topics of rivers, seas and glaciers. You must study one of them in detail and prepare a case study of the human interaction with that topic.
  • Memorise regional geography, primary, secondary and tertiary activities.
  • Ensure that you are able to identify all surface landforms by name or from a diagram.
  • Elective questions: At the beginning of fifth year, you will have chosen either human or economic geography as your elective. If you have chosen human geography, you should revise population as overpopulation is a commonly occurring topic.
  • Settlement: Settlement patterns – site, situation, function, map and photograph skills are other topics you should be familiar with.
  • Optional geography question: This is an essay-type question for higher-level students. Practise writing a number of appropriate essays in your chosen optional area. You will be working on one of the following topics in your geography class in school: geo-ecology, global interdependence, culture and identity, and the atmosphere-ocean environment. Ensure that you have a clear structure to your work, which deals with three to four aspects of the topic and identify seven to eight significant relevant points on each aspect.
  • The written paper makes up 80 per cent of the overall marks. Leaving Certificate geography students have until April to complete their Geographical Investigation, which will be assessed outside the written examination.


  • Ensure that you complete your work on the research topic as soon as possible.
  • Develop a regular pattern of revision- at least four 40-minute sessions weekly.
  • Draw up outline plans for all of the essays you are preparing.
  • You should now be at the stage where you can write full essays in approximately 40 minutes, without the use of textbooks or notes.
  • Prepare answers for a possible contextualisation question in the documents section of the examination paper.
  • At this stage, it is often not possible to revise every topic. Ensure that the topics you do revise are done in some detail. For example if you are revising Home Rule within Irish history, you need to cover every aspect of the topic.


Familiarise yourself with the structure of the paper and the application of the marking scheme.

Short questions

Practise the short questions on both past exam papers and on sample papers.


Revise all of the experiments you have done in fifth and sixth year, which will be examined in section B of the paper.

Long questions

  • Go back over the definitions you have learnt and practise writing them out.
  • Always be careful to ensure that you are addressing the question asked.
  • Plant biology is a section of the course you should study carefully.
  • You should consider answering questions 14 and 15 as they will offer you choices within the question.
  • Practise drawing the diagrams you have studied and ensure that you label them accurately.
  • Concentrate on the following topics: ecology, respiration, genetics, plant structure and body systems.


There is an excellent website physics students can use in their revision – www.thephysicsteacher.ie. The site also provides excellent revision materials for students studying applied maths.


  • Ensure that you are completely familiar with the practical questions you have studied to date.
  • The organic chemistry section of the course is regularly examined and should therefore feature prominently in your revision schedule over the coming weeks.
  • If you are considering attempting question four, which contains 11 short questions, you may find that this is a relatively easy question if you have a good overview of the entire course.
  • You have been accumulating detailed records of your laboratory experiment work over the past two years. Revise this work fully prior to your mocks.



As with all exams, the mock gives you the chance to fine-tune how long you spend on each question. Practise this by answering a reading comprehension or one of the past paper essay questions and seeing how long it takes for you to finish it.


Practise the past papers. Go back over sections and identify vocabulary that is repeated. Add this to your notes. Practise the past papers again. If you’re sick of listening to past papers, go to you tube, type in “entretien francais”, and watch a chat with some French celebrities. This helps get your ear in for the oral too.


Even if your school doesn’t have a mock oral, this is still a good time to revise for it. Remember, it won’t be long before you’ll be sitting the oral proper.

Revise all the topics your teacher has given you and go back through your documents. Remember the more often you read and write the vocabulary, the better your chances of remembering it. Try recording yourself and picking out your mistakes.

Reading comprehensions

Know what the questions mean. Learn off the required vocabulary you’ve got from your teacher. Don’t leave gaps. A guess is better than nothing.

Written work:

Look back over your vocabulary notes. Tenses are important here too. Revise the present, past, subjunctive, future and conditional tenses. Make up sentences to practise the topics and vocabulary that your teacher has given you.

  • You might take a look at skoool.ie and read over their study notes. Check out www.s-cool.co.uk/alevel/french/writing.html too. It’s for the British A Level, but has some notes that are relevant to the Leaving Cert.
  • www.languagesonline.org.uk/ is for A levels also, but will correct your answers for you.


  • Ensure that you read the business pages of the national newspapers so that you stay abreast of the current business environment. This will enable you to draw on examples of current practice from the world of business in your answers.
  • Financial ratios, such as profitability and liquidity, are regular question on both mock and Leaving Certificate papers. Revise these, so that in answering this question you will be able to propose a course of action that the business should follow, based on your ability to calculate the correct ratios.
  • A question on marketing is a hardy annual on business papers. Revise global marketing, market segmentation, product life cycle and breakeven analysis.
  • Use bullet points in all your answers. Take note of the number of marks offered per question. A 20-mark question should have five key points in the answer, supported by relevant examples.
  • You should practise answering full questions in 30 minutes so that you can maximise your performance. If you write beyond this time limit, you will not complete the required number of questions.


The most important aspect of preparation for oral examinations is to be comfortable about a range of topics or issues that an examiner might raise with you or allow you to introduce. The only way you can do this is by practising discussing the issues outlined below in the appropriate language with a fellow student or a person with fluency in the language in question.

Typical topics include:

  • Yourself, your family, where you live, your past times or hobbies.
  • Sport: your participation in sporting activities, your sporting achievement (real or imagined), your interest in sport.
  • Your school, the facilities on offer, your friends, the subjects you are studying and what you like most about your school.
  • Things you did during your holidays, over the past year or things you plan to do once you complete your Leaving Certificate in June.
  • Your plans for the future, colleges or courses you are interested in or plans you may have to travel.
  • Your hopes for the Leaving Certificate, the points you are aiming for and how you are preparing for the exams.
  • Current Affairs: It is important, given the current economic crisis to be able to discuss your views on major world or national issues.


You can improve your performance in the aurals by listening to past papers on the CDs, which are readily available. You need to focus on the key question forms, such as when, how, and what etc.

To enable you easily to identify words that are in regular use, you should familiarise yourself with key vocabulary.

The following are some of the areas you should be familiar with: counties, countries, towns and cities, months, time, numbers, occupations, academic subjects, types of schools and vocabulary relevant to the CAO college admissions process and job applications.

• Acknowledgment: I would like to thank my teaching colleagues in Oatlands College, Mount Merrion, Dublin for their tremendous support, in writing and preparing the subject content of these mock examination articles – Brian Mooney

Higher Level Structure
Time: 2 HOURS 50 Mins

Short Answer Section12 short answer questions
(Answer 12 marks for best 10. Each worth 8 marks)

Physical Geography

3 Questions (complete one)
Q1 or Q2 or Q3: Each with a part A, B, C
Each question is worth 80 marks
20% of the marks total

Regional Geography

3 Questions (complete one)                                                                       
Q4 or Q5 or Q6: Each with a part A, B, C
Each question is worth 80 marks
20% of the marks total


3 question (complete one) Each with a part A, B, C

Elective Four: Economic Geography Q7, Q8, Q9


Elective Five: Human Environment Q10, Q11, Q12
Each question is worth 80 marks
20% of the marks total

Optional Units

3 essay type questions on Geoecology (complete one) Q16, Q17, Q18
Each question is worth 80 marks
20% of the marks total

Field Investigation Report
Completed by May
In total it is worth 100 marks
20% of the marks total

Total exam = 500 marks = 100%

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