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Why is Biology the most Popular Leaving Cert Optional Subject?

Read this article if you are considering taking on Biology

Why is Biology the most Popular Leaving Cert Optional Subject?

Biology is the study of life in all its shapes and forms. The scope of biology is wide and varied and covers not only the traditional study of plants and animals but also areas such as molecular biology and biotechnology which have clear relevance to modern society.

Biology is a firm favourite among Leaving Cert students. With a staggering 34,000 candidates sitting Leaving Cert Biology in 2018, it is the most popular optional subject standing head and shoulders above the other science options such as Physics (6,258)  and Chemistry (7,943). Students are often advised to study at least one science subject for Leaving Cert to keep as many options as possible open for third level education. The majority of the student body opt for Biology – but why? There is a perceived notion that it is the easiest of the sciences – is this true? Let’s look at the facts

Leaving Cert Biology – The Facts

In 2018 Chemistry students fared slightly better than their Biology counterparts when it came to achieving the tops grades.

46% of Higher Level Chemistry students achieved a H3 or higher. This compares to 45.6% achieving the same level in Biology, followed closely by Physics 43.7% but Agricultural science students did not perform as well, 36.8% achieved H3 and above.

With regards to failure rates, Science subjects were top of the leader board for 2018. The top four subjects at Higher Level with the highest ‘nil points’ H8 grades all go to science: Physics and Chemistry (10.1%), Physics, (7.8%), Chemistry (7.4%), Biology (7.1%) while Agricultural Science (4.9%) was further down the board behind Accounting and Classical Studies.

Click here for a detailed breakdown on how students performed in Leaving  Cert Exams in 2018.

Overall, there isn’t a huge difference recorded in how students perform in the Science subjects. Agricultural science showing the greatest degrees of separation from the other three. Therefor the  vastness of the topic may be the real reason why so many students are attracted to studying this subject both at second and third level.

Click here to read about Studying Biology at Third Level and What to do When you have Graduated.

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