Leaving Certificate Geography


Well well well. If that Geography paper did not just kill me, nothing will! I remember the days at Junior Cert level, where Geography was focused on Economic activities and the Physical Geography and that was all. Ah, I miss those days.The paper began with possibly the worst set of Short Questions I have seen in a long time. I spent much longer than I should have on them but I knew that the remaining questions weren't much better so I bit the bullet and got on with the questions. In fairness, there may have been a few questions that I may have answered 100% correctly, but I definitely did not get my 80 marks I could've gotten there.From then on the paper was nothing more than a farce. On the Physical Geography Section, I decided to do the first question because I knew Karst surfaces fairly well and how a waterfall was formed. That got part A & B out of the way fairly sharpish. However, C blew me away. I am not going to lie - I may have totally waffled my way around that question.After that question and the Shorts, my pride in my Geography knowledge may have been hurt and so, it's no surprise that I did not do too well on any other question in the exam. I didn't have enough time to even attempt the Electives on Section III and I recall writing about The Mezzogiorno for a Manufacturing question but all the rest was a blur of scrawled writing and panic.I only hope I did well in the Field Work Project now because it may very well end up being my my saving grace. It wasn't all bad though, I did give it my best shot and I was glad Processes of Erosion came up on the Physical Geography so I guess every cloud does have a silver, Geographical lining.


Having had no time whatsoever to revise, seeing as English 2 had used up the last of our energy reserves, it wasn't a surprise that nerves today were all rather frazzled. 9:30 arrived and there was a collective frenzy to the back of the paper - I was absolutely delighted with the Plant & Animal adaptation biomes question, and having prepared that exact essay, it certainly got the exam off to a confident start. I can imagine that there was a quiet country-wide celebration upon seeing that glorious waterfall question, and having written about under cuttings and overhangs in every geography exam since first year, it was a delight to see a familiar face. Unfortunately I had to compromise by attempting an unfamiliar tectonics question, but I trudged through that regardless. Besides, the Karst part A was a beaut! There were some rather off-putting human environment questions in my opinion, including an industrial decline essay and a vile part A - a misleading and badly phrased immigration vs emigration question. Anywho, regional proved reasonably manageable, with a reassuringly open question about climate which could be adapted to any region, and a glorious primary economic activity essay in which I could talk about soya, fazendas and cattle ranching to my heart's content.While the predicable classics such as land form development, human interaction with the rock cycle and sedimentary rocks appeared, overall in my opinion, it was an exam of unexpected challenges.Well done to everyone today! Time to enjoy our well-deserved weekend. No more isostasy for us!


Opening up the exam the first thing I did was jump over to the geo-ecology section to see had I gotten lucky. I had (I think). The biome question that came up seemed to be ideal, although the underlined use of the word "specific" will bug me till I get my results. I decided to get this out of the way and do it, I then went and did the short questions. Unlike the last few years these were the hardest part of the paper in my opinion. There were a lot of difficult questions that haven’t been on the paper before. The second OS maps question was also really hard to understand. I could not for the life of me figure out from what direction the picture had been taken. I moved onto the physical geography doing the old reliable features of erosion question. Regional was not too bad I did the question on industrial decline and tertiary activities. There was also a sketch map of a European region which I dreaded, although for the first time ever I was happy with my sketch of the Mezzogiorno. Then all that was left was the economic section which was tough enough. I picked the question on environmental impacts of economic activity and colonialism. These went alright for me although I ran out of time and didn’t get to say as much as I would’ve liked for colonisation.All in all I think that it was a fair paper giving a good choice of questions and as long as my answer for the biomes question works out I think I’ll be fine.Please note: Blog posts reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union.