Friday 14 December 2018

Leaving Cert study guide: Design and communications graphics

The old syllabus known as Technical Drawing had been in place since 1984. It was replaced in 2007 with a new syllabus called Design and Communication Graphics (DCG). There were changes made in this new syllabus. Computer Aided Design (CAD) was introduced to develop skills in design, Spatial Visualisation and Computer Graphics. The syllabus was also split into a Core and Option Structure. All students must study the Core in full, while the Option element requires just two from five sections to be studied.

>The Exam

The marking is divided into two parts: practical coursework and the end-of-year examination. The practical work is a student assignment, which is carried out during the course of the year and is worth 140 marks. The end-of-year exam is worth 240 marks and incorporates the Core and Option elements of the syllabus.

1>Practical coursework (Student Assignment) (40pc)

2>A final examination in graphics (60pc)

>The Core

The Core is divided into five main areas, all concerning Plane and Descriptive Geometry

Projection systems

>Axonometric projection: Candidates are required to understand isometric, diametric and trimetric projection. They will be required to construct the planes of reference for the axonometric plane and project a true image on an object. It is vital that candidates use correct labelling in answering this question to prevent confusion.

>Perspective: Candidates are required to know one-point, two-point and three-point perspective. They should be able to construct the ground line, picture plane, horizon line and vanishing points. They should also be familiar with the process of finding auxiliary points and complete perspective drawings.

Conic sections

Candidates should be able to construct a parabola, an ellipse and a hyperbola. They should be familiar with constructing conic sections from data relating to eccentricity, tangents to the curve, directrices, loci and points given on a curve.

Intersection and Development of surfaces

>Interpenetration: Candidates are required to locate the points of intersection between two solid prisms. They should be able to construct an auxiliary view and locate these points of intersection in both plan and elevation. They will be required to complete intersectional detail of irregular and oblique solids.

Descriptive Geometry of Planes and Lines

Candidates should be able to determine the line of intersection between two planes and find the true length of this line. They must be able to find the dihedral angle between the two planes that are intersecting. The candidates must be able to define the concept of skew lines and solve practical problems, For example, the shortest perpendicular distance and the shortest horizontal distance between the two lines.

Plane geometry

The candidate must be familiar with constructing triangles, quadrilaterals and regular polygons of given side/altitude, inscribed and circumscribed about a circle.


The option element is divided into five sections

>Dynamic mechanisms

>Structural forms


>Geological geometry

>Surface geometry

>End-of-Year Exam

The end-of-year exam is a three-hour exam and is made up of three sections, A, B and C. The questions in Section A and Section B relate to the Core section of the syllabus. Section C questions are on the Option section of the syllabus.

Section A

Candidates are required to answer three questions from four in this section. The questions are partly answered and the candidate must complete them on the exam paper. It is important to read all questions before attempting to answer them. They should choose which questions they can best answer and it is vital that the candidate allocate time correctly for each question and not spend too much time on a single question.

Section B

In this section, candidates are expected to answer two from three long questions. These questions must be completed on drawing paper. It is vital that the candidate read through each question fully before attempting them, giving enough time for each question.

Section C

This is the option section of the exam. Candidates are again required to answer on drawing sheets. The candidates will have studied two topics for this section prior to the exam.

>Tips for the Exam

>Candidates should practise short sample questions in section A and familiarise themselves with the structure of the questions.

>Read through every question in full before putting pen to paper to eliminate any misinterpretation of a question.

>Each question is structured in a sequential manner, which will aid the candidate in answering the question. The questions should be answered following this sequence. Again, the question should be read carefully and in full before beginning the answer.

>Ensure that each question is clearly labeled. Overall presentation is very important. The candidate must have the correct grade of pencils (3H, 4H, 5H, etc) and they must be sharpened.

>Candidates should only use one side of the drawing paper.

>Correct use of construction lines should be used. (Light lines instead of dotted lines).

>Candidates should manage their time accordingly. Allocate time for each question, for example, about 30 minutes per long question and 15 per short question. This should leave a little time at the end to read through the paper once and return to any unfinished or difficult questions.

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