General introduction to this subject for Leaving Cert

Deals with the study of life and living things (plant, animal and human). Very desirable for nursing, beauty therapy and home economics teaching.  Useful for agriculture, botany, conservation work, dentistry, dietician, farming, food science, zoology, forestry, fisheries and many science/ medical careers.


Similarities/difference between Junior and Senior Cycle.

It is similar but broader and much more detailed.  The new course introduced in 2004 includes genetic screening, DNA profiling, IVF, biotechnology and the cause, prevention and cure of diseases like osteoporosis.


What are the main topics covered in the Leaving Cert syllabus?

The syllabus covers: Ecology, Human Systems, Plants, Genetics (which includes DNA Profiling and Genetic Screening).  There are 22 mandatory experiments to be completed.


How is the subject examined at the end of the course?

A three hour written exam.  Mandatory experiments must be available for inspection.


What other school subjects might it be linked to at Leaving Cert level?

Social & Scientific (but only to a minor degree) and Agricultural Science, RE (ethical issues) and Geography (ecology).


What kind of skills will it help develop?

It develops the skill of interpreting facts and the ability to predict the probable effect of a change in a factor or situation, using the knowledge gained.


What do students like about it?

Students like the experiments. It is of personal interest because a large element of the course is about the human body. It gives opportunities to discuss ethical issues in science such as stem-cell research.


What do students find challenging about it?

There is a lot of learning. There is a Botany (plants) section which does not appeal to some students. It is strongly recommended that a student has JC science if considering biology as it builds on JC science and not having this completed will put a student at a disadvantage – students would concur with this.