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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…

Ask a straight A1 student

Q. When answering a question such as "Is Durcan insensitive to talk about a real event?", how would you begin your answer? I have an idea of what I want to say, but I don't know how to start it other than "No, I don't think he is"

I can't see such a question being part of the LC. I think there's nothing wrong with being direct - like you are suggesting. In fact, clarity is a huge part of doing well in the English exam. Just give your reasons. The best art divides the audience - and being sensitive isn't always part of art!

Q. I'm working on a Hamlet essay: "Despite Hamlet's flaws, he remains a noble character". My teacher advised us to disagree with the topic because the Chief Examiner said that students agree too often. What do you think?

Indeed, the Chief Examiner remarked on students being overly full of praise for whatever the title asks for. "Hamlet" is a such a complex play! I think your could take the approach that Hamlet has a lot of flaws and a lot of noble motivations. This makes Hamlet a realistic character and the quintessential Shakespearean tragic hero - he still puzzles us 400 years on! I would feel uncomfortable disagreeing completely, I would just explain what makes him such a complex character.

This short audio contains some thoughts of Hamlet, the character
You can find a summary/interpretation of the Chief Examiner's reports here

Q. For prescribed poetry, can you use your knowledge of the poet's personal life, or is it better to just focus on the poetry you learned? Would you gain or lose marks by mentioning events in the poet's personal life? - Laura.

It is acceptable to talk about the poet's personal life. The question is: is it adding anything? If it enhances our understanding of the poetry, then add it. However, avoid trying to write a Wiki page about the poet - that won't get you marks.

Here are some examples where personal details are relevant:

- Paul Durcan's "Sport" and his difficult relationship with his father

- Elizabeth Bishop's "Sestina" and the tragic circumstances of her childhood that led to her living with her relatives rather than her parents

- Sylvia Plath (pretty much all of her poetry) and her personal history of depression. I think that talking about her husband's affair is overkill.

- W.B. Yeats "Wild Swans..." and his relationship with Maud Gonne

Q. Would you recommend writing a poetry essay to answer poem by poem or by fact/explanation including aspects from more than one poem in each paragraph? Which would be of more structural benefit to me?Thanks in advance - Robyn

If you are sitting your LC in the next few weeks, I think it's best not to make radical changes to how you structure your essays.

I think the best is to go by theme, or fact/explanation as you said. You can break up the paragraphs if they get a little long. For example, for Yeats:

Paragraph 1 Theme: peace/country/nationalism, Poems: September 1913, Easter 1916
Paragraph 2 Theme: peace/country/nationalism, Poems: Stare's Nest..., An Irish Airman...,
Paragraph 3 Theme: peace/country/nationalism, The Second Coming, Lake Isle...
Paragraph 4 Theme: ageing/time, Poems: Wild Swans...
Paragraph 5 Theme: ageing/time, Poems: Sailing to Byzantium, The Second Coming

Mention imagery as you go along in every paragraph.

This is just an example, there are too many poems in it for one essay anyway.

Q. Is it possible to get an A2/B1 without finishing any of the questions completely for example doing 4 pages for lear, 4 for poetry, 5 for comparative?- Hazel

You have to finish the essays with a conclusion etc. Four and five pages is probably more than enough, unless you have very big writing.

Q. How many hours should I be studying per week? - Kevin

This is highly individual. It is not so much hours, but the work you get done. I recommend splitting the entire workload into about 20 areas per subject and studying/revising each area at least once in 6th year. For more advice in this vein, please see our study tips here.

Q. Can you look over my essay?

Yes! Besides the high quality notes, free and paid, that you can find on the website, we offer free help. What really makes us love is that we get to chat to students. We are always happy to help with your English work.
Send your typed-up English essay to us mentioning the title of the essay to We will reply with detailed exam-oriented feedback on how to improve your essay. Credited or anonymous - you choose, some of your gently edited essays will go up on the website, so that everyone can learn from each other and get closer to that coveted A1! In the meantime, get in touch on Instagram and Twitter.

Q. I am finished my Leaving Cert, I have some great notes and want to sell them here. is unique in that the content here is curated to maintain the highest standards. Learn more about working with us.

Q. I've really benifited from your notes, yet I'm not clear on one thing - do I have to use the prescribed adjectives in a question on a poetry continually to get marks? - Eoin

You should mirror the language of the question. This means repeating the words used in the question throughout your answer. It can't be overzealous because that will seem robotic and fake. Once a paragraph is reasonable. I suspect you are studying Hamlet? Have a look at this Madness essay. Note the number of times the word "fascinating" is repeated throughout the text (I'll give you a clue - 11, but this is a very long essay). This will give you a good indication of a reasonable frequency.

Q. I'm just wondering if you have any sample essays on an ideal society? Thanks - Jason

Your Paper I Composition essay (100 marks) is linked to the texts that come up on the paper. You are also free to draw from your own knowledge. 

Here are some ideas you could incorporate into your essay: 

- Equality

Anchors: women's rights, the 2015 Marriage Referendum, access to healthcare (private vs public, recent A&E crises), rights to property (incl. property tax), income tax rate is high, immigration and race. 

- Social mobility

Business: big business is able to comply with complex regulation imposed by governments seemingly to protect the consumer, whereas it presents barriers to small business. 
Education: the wealthy tend to have better access to education perpetuating their superior position in society. You could argue formal education does not lead to wealth.
Double jeopardy: those who are born into less privileged circumstances are subjected to more risks (drug abuse, poor nutrition, etc) and receive less support (less access to medical services, etc)

- A philosophical approach
Egalitarian doctrines maintain that all humans are equal in fundamental worth. This is written in to many UN and sovereign documents. Communism advocated for extreme redistribution of wealth and a society with no class distinction, where has that lead? Is equality a Utopian concept?Freedom: what does it mean to be free? Are we less imprisoned by social norms than 50 years ago, or have they simply changed in name but remained just as rigid? For example, women have joined the work force. Perhaps, it has become less socially acceptable to stay at home with a child and "give up a career."

- The Irish view
The Proclamation
"The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities of all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority in the past."

- Quotations:

The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal. - Aristotle 
Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. - John F. Kennedy 
Man is free at the moment he wishes to be. - Voltaire
Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. - George Orwell 
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. - Martin Luther King
There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountain tops of our desires - Nelson Mandela
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Leaving Cert English Sample Essay and Notes


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