• Shauna

Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science

Updated: Aug 27, 2021

No longer the handy predictable exam it once was, how can Leaving Certificate students excel in the new Ag Science course?

Our 2021 Leaving Cert Students

They've been through the ringer missing valuable teaching time with their teachers and now, they're the guinea pigs for new Ag Science exam. How can parents and teachers make sure this year group reach their potential and how can students ensure they're hitting the brief?

1. What is LC Agricultural Science?

Firstly, you need to understand the course. There are two assessments; a Project worth 25% of the overall grade and secondly, a Written Exam worth 75% of the overall grade.

The Project

The Ag Science project is officially known as the Individual Investigative Study (IIS) and is done by each student on their own, there's no option for a group project. The old 'farm project' that once was is now gone, in its place is a research and experiment based task.

Students have roughly a year to complete this task and my advice is for students to get this out of the way in 5th year. The project will officially be due in the April of sixth year. Each cohort of students will be set a 'theme' for their IIS set by the State Exams Commission (SEC), they're the people that set all exams for the Junior and Leaving Certificate. For the 2021 cohort the theme is 'Improving sustainability in Irish Agriculture' and for the 2022 gang, it's 'Supporting conservation of the environment through Irish Agricultural practice'.

The main tasks for students are:

- Pick a research question and enterprise to study.

- Develop a hypothesis and experiment to test that hypothesis.

- Carry out your experiment(s).

- Analyse and evaluate your results.

- Make comparisons between your results and other similar studies.

- Make conclusions based on your findings.

The simplest way for students to get started on this is to use on of the SPAs (Specified Activities) from their book and adapt it. You don't need to reinvent the wheel, you just need to modify it.

You can download the 2021 Project Brief and the 2022 Project Brief here.

Ag Science Project Brief 2021
Download PDF • 194KB
Ag Science Project Brief 2022
Download PDF • 199KB

The Exam

The Ag Science sample papers have been released from the SEC and give us an idea of what to expect on the paper. The exam is laid out in two section; A and B. Section A carries 100 marks and contains short questions. Students answer 10 questions. Section B carries 200 marks and are longer questions. Students must answer 4 long questions which examine theory and practical activities.

Students will need to practice the questions on the paper. Use the learning outcomes from the syllabus/textbook to guide their study and do not forget about the experiments!

You can download the 2021 Agricultural Science Sample Papers here.

Ag Science HL Sample Paper
Download PDF • 2.05MB
Ag Science OL Sample Paper
Download PDF • 4.03MB

2. Study

Sixth years - Should be revising all of their fifth year content from September to January in preparation for their mock exams. Their mock exams are going to be more important than ever as they missed their fifth year summer exams. Exam practice is a crucial part of getting prepared for the Leaving Cert exams. Use a study planner to set out what you need to study and when you are going to do it. Find some study planner examples here that you can use.

Fifth years - This is your time to get organised! I cannot stress the importance of good organisation enough for Leaving Cert students, tidy notes tidy mind. Get a folder per subject, dividers and polypockets. Spend some time organising your notes, test, worksheets etc into different sections in your folder. Each time you complete a topic make a summary page with all the info you need and add it to your folder. That way, when you study the topic in sixth year you've already summarised it and outlined the key info you need to know.

Parents - Help your kids with this, some teenagers are not great at motivating themselves to get organised! Buy them nice folders and stationary, the neater and nicer it looks the more likely they are to use it.

Teachers - Spend a class or two in Fifth year getting your students organised, show them how to organise their materials and what they need to get.

3. Support

Not every student can do it on their own. Parents - you need to step up. Spend some time learning about what your child needs to do well, and encourage them. Talk to your son/daughter. Talk to their teachers. Ask the school for help! There will be times throughout the two years of the Leaving Cert when students need a (hypothetical) kick up the behind to get motivated, and there are others when they need you to help them by listening and taking an interest. Our specialised courses will give your budding Ag Scientist the support they need from a teacher, and keep and eye on our Blog for tips and tricks for parents and students.

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