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Biology 2018 Solutions for Leaving Cert Higher Level

You can access the paper via the website. No marking scheme is available at the time of writing. You may also like: Leaving Cert Biology.
Q1. (a) 1. To receive energy for cellular reactions to occur 2. For growth and repair  (b) Many sugar units joined together  (c) Cellulose  (d) Contains glycerol and three fatty acids  (e) Phospholipids are found in cell membranes  (f) Biuret test 
Q2. (a) Living factor  (b) The place where an organism lives  (c) All of the different populations living in an area  (d) All members of the same species living in an area  (e) The functional role of an organism in an ecosystem  (f) The part of the Earth that sustains life  (g) Checking for the presence or absence of an organism in an ecosystem 
Q3. (a) Interphase  (b) Cell division in which one cell becomes two cells and the number of chromosomes is retained. The genetic material of the daughter cell is identical to the mother cell.  (c)1. The chromosome number is halved in meiosis  2. Meiosis involves 2 c…

17 Things I Wish I Had Known When I Was 17

“I know one thing: that I know nothing.”
 - Socrates

1. Before you start anything, you need to have absolute clarity of purpose

This means you need to have goals. Don't fully engage in anything unless you know what you want to get out of it. You may often find that you are reacting to other people's demands and just floating. That's OK in moderate doses, but you also need to choose your own destinations sometimes.

things I wish I had known when I was younger

2. What gets measured gets managed

Unless you have a way of measuring your progress, be it in academia, sports -anything, you are unlikely to make any.

3. The 80/20 rule

states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This also means that 64% of effect come from 4% of causes and more that 50% come from less than 1%!!! So what one tiny thing can you change on the causal side to change more than half the outcomes? For me, exercising for 15 minutes a day (approx. 1% of 24 hours) has made me feel incredibly more energetic, changed how I feel every day and how much I get done. 

4. Procrastination is a form of avoidance

When you commit to checking Instagram for just another 5 minutes rather than doing some big thing you need to do today, you tell your brain that it needn't worry for another 5 minutes. It is a hiding behaviour and it surely won't get you closer to your goals. Oftentimes, it is the thing that you most avoid that will. Why? The thing that you avoid is something you are afraid of. It could even be an English essay. Why would you avoid it? While you are trying to write it, you may discover that you aren't that good at writing essays. The fear in your head will tell you that not being good at essays means you won't get enough points, get into the right course and your family won't be happy with you. Yes, a s*itty little essay may question your entire character if you let it. The trick is to see the essay for what it is and remind yourself of the progress you are making.

5. We live in a digital revolution

Like the agricultural and the industrial revolutions, the advent of connectivity has lead to a different skill set being valued. No matter how skilled you are, you can no longer come to someone, ask them what to do and expect them to give you a lot of money for it. You have to solve problems that others don't even see. To do that you need to learn to focus and to motivate yourself much more so than you need concrete skills.

17 things I wish I had known when I was 17

6. It's good to think probabilistically

Often, when we think of the future, we envision only one path. This leads to tremendous anxiety as we see other paths, or possibilities, as a disaster. More often than not, they aren't. When you consider the probabilities of different things happening, your brain calms down a lot. It is a bit like thinking of the worst case scenario, but thinking of the whole spectrum of scenarios. You are much more prepared that way.

7. You can't outwork the competition

You may be able to outwork the guy sitting beside you in class, but that's about it. There are billions of people all over the world who are willing to work harder and for less money than our lovely readers. That's just the reality. The only way to do something that they can't do is to lead or to solve problems they cannot solve. Outworking people on raw willpower won't happen. Willpower is an extremely expensive fuel. If it feels like you are having to use a lot of willpower, you're doing it wrong. What are the possible causes? Perhaps, deep down you don't want to be doing this. Perhaps, you have a belief that this won't lead you to where you want to be. 

8. Stresses, mistakes and "failures" contain lessons

Whenever things go pear-shaped, ask: what's good about this? Stresses can lead to interesting discoveries, new people, new places, new skills. It can be tempting to focus on the reasons for something going wrong, but it is probably at least as important to focus on the solutions. The reasons often end up pointing at personal weaknesses that need to be mitigated in some way. The solutions are the bit where you can avoid repeating the same mistakes, i.e. learn and become better. Just because success comes after a few iterations doesn't mean it is somehow lesser.

9. Listen, listen, listen - and observe

We often focus on what it is we are going to say next. I think any interaction would be much better if we took the time to listen. It is the only way you can genuinely be relevant. Being empathetic and socially sensitive is going to make things better for everyone.

10. Your self-esteem shouldn't be affected by external circumstances

That's probably the biggest lesson. Whether it is in Viktor Frankl stuck in a concentration camp or countless ultra-successful people being told they were useless as kids, the trick is to remember that this has nothing to do with your sense of self. So when somebody praises you, don't get overexcited and think you are doing great. Equivalently, when somebody bullies you, offends you, makes little of what you care about, tells you you failed, doesn't give you the medal you deserve - keep calm and carry on. It may even be yourself telling you that you haven't reached your own potential. It is up to you to bounce back and try again. Don't try to be seen as being right or gain approval, focus on getting the results you are after. It can be tough to stay committed if you overvalue people's appreciation of you. It will come by itself if you can lead people to something valuable.

leaving cert things I wish I had known when I was younger

11. Changing habits isn't that difficult 

It requires attention and repetition, but it's actually pretty uncomplicated. So many things are habits, it is scary. We think that we have free will, but a lot of the time we just run the same scripts over and over again. The way habits work is through cues, routines and rewards. So when you get bored (your cue), you get out your phone and go on social media or play a game (your routine). You get entertainment out of it (your reward). To change the habit, all you need to do is to do something different when you get bored and reward yourself well. So let's say you get bored again. Go to your to-do list and see what you could do now so that you use this time to do something that you will actually thank yourself for (your new routine). Have a piece of chocolate the first 10 times you do it - or play Pokemon, or in fact, go on social media. After that, you will see the value that this new habit creates and you won't need the reward. The habit will stick because you just swapped out the routine, but kept everything else the same.

12. Some forms of education were invented by industrialists in order to get compliant factory workers

It may come as a surprise, but I never particularly liked school except for the social element. Occasionally, we would study something that I found cognitively challenging - I loved that for sure. Even still, I never really understood why I needed to recite poetry and remember a lot of obviously specialist, near irrelevant facts. I think I managed to turn it into something that made my mind stronger: putting it through these hoops is just like going to the gym for your muscles. It is the skill of figuring things out that is of value, not the actual facts. However, doesn't it seem crazy to be in school between almost 9 and 5? Does that remind you of anything? I think the solution is to derive as much as you can from education, but if you are feeling a little rebellious - that's not necessarily a bad thing.

13. Meditation makes you more intelligent

As a 17 year old, I thought - who has the time for this? If you want to make something of yourself, just go and work on it. It seemed just like a new-age procrastination behaviour. How wrong I was... Pretty much everyone from Ray Dalio (one of the most successful investors who ever lived) to Arnold Schwarzenegger (yes, him) do it. It changes the way your brain is wired and makes you... I would even go so far as to say intelligent. I don't think I will ever give it up. Go to Calm or Headspace on your phone and get started. They are kind of the same, Calm is in an American accent with soothing ocean sounds, and Headspace in a British accent with animations. I frequently tweet free trials and discount to these because I am on the mailing lists. Of course, you can just read about it and practice it with no app.

14. Routines are important

I don't like each day being the same as the previous one, so this is hard for me to say! But it turns out that routines save you a lot of RAM. So let's say you get up in the morning and you need to start the day. It is much easier to be productive if the first hour of your morning is the same every day. Instead of having to make a decision each time: what are you going to wear, have for breakfast, do first, etc, you have it decided from before. When I just started, I more or less wrote it on a page. So every morning I roll out of bed, brush my teeth, meditate, exercise, journal, look at my to-do list and have a cup of green tea. Only after that I actually start making any decisions.

leaving cert study skills from top students

15. Write everything down

Write To-Do lists for every month and every day. You can break them out even by your role. What you can do as a student, a son/daughter, a violinist, a poker player, a GAA player... It will give you perspective and stop you from thinking in circles. Occasionally, you can do a brain-dump, or journal, to use the polite term. Once again, this clears your metaphorical RAM and saves you from being distracted by worries and thoughts. The fact that this works has been documented in studies and certainly has been my experience.

16. Perfect body images are a sales strategy

The perfect-looking people in magazines are made by a team of people whose primary objective is to sell. Just like a painting, a professional photo has something to do with reality - but not a lot. These guys don't really worry about what effect it may have on gullible consumers - so long as they hand over their money. And if it were easy to attain those perfect looks, people would stop buying what the beauty/fashion industry is selling. See a conflict of interest yet?... You may wonder though... If the perfect looking images sell, that must mean they are worth something to someone. Well, heroin sells. Doesn't make it good, does it? In my best Attenborough voice, I would doubt most everyday cats care much about the perfect-looking cats of YouTube. Cats are smart. Be like cats. That's not to say there is something wrong with looking amazing. If you can be better at anything, if it is your goal - go for it. But know what it means to you and remember you needn't be perfect to be worthwhile. In the same vein, social media is a business that makes you its employee without you knowing it. Social media can offer opportunities, but as such they are leeching off what you create in order to make money through advertising. Don't get too involved unless you have a clear purpose.

17. Time is the unit of life

Time is something you can never make more of or get back. Use it wisely.

Written by Martina, who achieved 8 A1s in her Leaving Cert. You can also subscribe to Martina's personal blog.

From 2016, we started offering a personalised coaching service for Leaving Cert students that focuses on issues such as motivation, planning study, setting goals, managing stress and achievement. For more details, contact

leaving cert notes 625 points
leaving cert notes 625 points

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