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Learn as much as you can in any situation that presents itself. Never be afraid to try something even if it scares you to do so. And give it all you have. Be a good listener and a good communicator and be fair.
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Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Marks Distribution 2014:
[View all subjects]
Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 5399 students who sat the Higher level Physics exam in 2014.

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 1778 students who sat the Ordinary level Physics exam in 2014.

 
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Senior Cycle - Physics

Subject Group: Science
These subjects demonstrate how to explore nature using carefully planned methods, and teach the basic methods and findings of scientific investigation.

What is Physics?

The Leaving Cert physics course follows directly from Junior Cert Science, and covers more topics in greater depth. Physics is often referred to as the maths side of science even though only a small proportion of the course is based on this.

Physics aims to enhance students ability to think logically, observe and understand scientific method. The course is heavily based around experiments - students are required to complete and write reports of 24 practical experiments throughout the two years, and be fully aware of how to accurately record and analyse results, and how to minimise and accomodate for experimental errors.

These laboratory experiments, along with many more non-compulsory experiments are examined in detail on a section of the written paper.

Interested in Physics? Watch the Video above to see if the course is likely to interest you. Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain

The Physics course also involves a lot of theory which is tested on the written examination. Students are expected to be able to use various formulae with respect to SI units and significant figures, and have a good understanding of the role of physics in modern society and technology.


Download poster in pdf format [from www.compadre.com]

What type of student might Physics suit? 

  • Students considering a career in any mathematical or scientific discipline, such as finance, statistics, engineering, physics, astronomy or computer science.
  • Students who were successful in their Junior Cert science examination, particularly in the Physics section of the course.

Careers Possibilities

Students who are interested in the following careers would be advised to study Physics: Electrician, Optician, Doctor, Dentist, Engineer, Computer Technician and Programmer.

Third Level Entry Requirements
Physics is a requirement for entry into a number of third level courses. Some examples include: Theoretical Physics  in UCD and TCD. Click on the link below to view courses that definitely requires, or may require this subject for entry:

CAO Entry Requirements [Source: Qualifax]

Note: Click on each course title to view the exact requirements for any course listed.

Podcast: Listen to an Audio Podcast on Preparing for Leaving Cert Physics 
Duration: 15 mins [Source - www.frogblog.ie] 


Physics and Careers

Physics contributes to a student’s future career in many ways. It helps, in conjunction with the other Leaving Certificate subjects, to provide a broad, balanced education for any student. Physics teaches students to think logically and enables them to express their thoughts in a concise manner. The skills and knowledge developed through their study of physics can be useful in a wide variety of situations.

Physics is a useful subject for many courses and careers and a good foundation for a broad range of scientific and technical careers. Many careers benefit from the logical and numeracy skills developed by the study of physics. Many technical courses involve components of physics.

Students may move into employment or into further study following their two years of physics at secondary school level. They may choose a Post Leaving Certificate course (PLC) or move on into third level.

Physics and physics-related courses may be taken at both certificate and degree level in third-level institutions.

For students who are interested in proceeding further with physics, check out our sector on Physical and Mathematical Sciences, and also the Institute of Physics, which provides information on the range of careers that students can follow after their study of physics at third level. 


Subject Content

The study of Physics for Leaving Cerificate is broken down into eight sections or topic areas: 

(a) Six compulsory sections
(b) Two option sections (Higher paper only, one to be done)

Compulsory sections
1. Optics / Waves: the study of light and sound and real life applications of the theory.

2. Mechanics: time, space, distance, speed and acceleration.

3. Heat: changes of state, energy conversions and mathematical problems.

4. Electricity: develops on from simple circuits to more detailed concepts.

5. Electricity and Magnetism: gravity, relationship between electricity and magnetism, study of how a motor works, ac. and dc. circuits and phenomena with real world applications.

6. Atomic Physics: cathode rays, x-rays, radioactive decay, fission and fusion, nuclear reactors and real world applications.

Option sections
1. Particle Physics: recent type of physics, delving into the new discoveries leading to a better understanding of the formation of the universe and where we came from.

2. Applied Electricity: detailed study of electricity and the working of a motor developing from electricity already studied.

At Higher Level, there is a deeper, more quantitative treatment of physics.  The two option sections are omitted from the Ordinary Level Leaving Certificate course.

The course also consists of 24 core mandatory experiments complimenting each section in an aim to develop students’ technical skills and enhance understanding and reinforce key concepts.

Exam Structure

Leaving Certificate Physics is assessed by means of one terminal examination paper at each level.  Students are required to keep a record of their practical work over the two years of the course. 

The Leaving Cert Physics exam is three hours in duration:

Section A:

  • Answer 3 out of 4 questions
  • 120 marks: 40 marks per question
  • Questions are based on experimental procedures and use of results

Section B:

  • Answer 5 out of 8 questions
  • 280 marks: 56 marks per question
  • Questions are more broad and theory based


Comment

While there is an element of maths in the physics course, honours maths is not a requirement to do honours physics.  Students should not avoid physics on the basis of not having honours maths.  It is entirely possible to get on well in honours physics without honours maths.

Pupils should become able to draw and read graphs and be competent in using a calculator throughout the course.  The physics syllabus has strong links with the other science subjects especially chemistry.  There are strands of physics which overlap with woodwork and construction especially the electricity and heat sections.

Pupils who will gain the most from studying physics are those who have an interest in science at Junior Cert level and those who enjoy learning about how things work.  The science, technology and society section allows students the chance to see where the physics they are learning applies as in TVs, car motors and electricity in the home and also, to see some of the industrial applications of certain topics.



Data Sources: The information on these pages has been compiled from a variety of sources including the NCCA, Newbridge College / Brian Howard, Dept. of Education & Skills, and student interviews. Information in the 'People who took this subject' section reflects the views of those people interviewed on this website and is offered as informal and potentially useful information only.

While CareersPortal.ie attempts to keep this information as up to date and accurate as possible, we do not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of this information or decisions made on the basis of this information. Students should always discuss subject options with parents / guardians / guidance counsellors..
Go to curriculum website 
View / Download full curriculum [pdf file]
http://physics.slss.ie/resource_category/view/296
http://www.physics.org/careers.asp?contentid=381
http://www.ncca.ie/en/Consultations/Senior_Cycle_Science/physics.html
http://www.pdst.ie/sc/physics/cresources

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People who took this subject... 59
Read what others say about their Leaving Cert. Subject Choices...
Mechanical Engineer - Damien Mason
Damien Mason, CRH plc

The subjects which I had control of choosing and which influenced my career path were:

Secondary School: Technical Graphics, Construction Studies, Engineering, Physics. These were an excellent base for my degree course in Mechanical Engineering in University.

University: Mechanical Engineering - choose fluids stream instead of solids stream half way through my degree course. In my current career, choosing the fluids stream has not had any significant bearing on my ability to perform my job.

If I had the choice in Secondary School, I would have chosen Spanish as a language to study. This allows a lot of extra opportunities to travel globally.

If I had the opportunity to change my choices in University, I would have done a years post grad in buisness studies and accounting after my degree in mechanical engineering. I belive this would have given me a competitive advantage in aspiring to a career in management.

 
 
Merchandising Manager - Barry Kelly
Barry Kelly, Lidl

I chose the usual subjects and also did Economics, Physics and French. There wasn't much choice in the leaving cert with subjects but if you wanted to do any extra subjects you would have to do them on your own time after school. But, as I was working part time before and after school I decided not to take on any extra stress.

I completed transition year in 4th year and found that to be hugely beneficial and gave me an appetite for things more practical as opposed to academic. I didn't base my choice on career and went with the ones I thought I could do well in, and get decent marks.

I completed a 1 year certificate course, four years after my leaving cert, in  the area of Purchasing and Materials Management (IIPMM) which was for the company I worked for at the time, and which is still relevant for me now on a daily basis.

I have to say that school is great but the best thing I ever did was to start working at a young age. I started working on a bread delivery van aged 14 which meant getting up at 4.30 in the morning to deliver fresh bread to all the supermarkets in town. It gave me independence and responsibility at a young age and I gained great experience while at school. I studied German language for a year in school but gave it up then, looking back I should have kept it on, maybe I'll start it again some day...

 
 
Structural Engineer - Louise Lynch
Louise Lynch, ESB

The subjects I did in school didn't help much with my career path. The only subject I did do that was useful to me career was honours maths. As I didn't have the required subjects to get into my desired course, I did an extra year - a bridging year - Preliminary Engineering.

There are always other ways to get into courses so if you have your heart set on engineering but don't have the required subjects, look into courses like Preliminary Engineering or other bridging courses. If you haven't chosen your leaving cert subjects yet, some of the subjects that will assist you in an engineering degree is honours maths, physics, chemistry and mechanics/applied maths.

 
 
Recruitment Manager - Frank Morrison
Frank Morrison, Health Service Executive

Irish, English, Maths, Accountancy, Biology, Physics, French, Social & Scientific.

As already stated, my initial goal was accountancy following the Leaving Cert. The accountancy covered by the Leaving Cert was very beneficial during my first year at college. However I don't believe I had the personality to become an accountant.

Moving to my later choice of Nursing, I believe that biology was essential as it is a major part of nursing studies from the start. I also believe that experience at work itself will further one's career and may in fact lead to a change further down the career pathway.

 
 
Electronic Engineer  - Deborah Caffrey
Deborah Caffrey, Intel After completing my Junior Certificate I tried to choose a range of subjects in order to maintain options for Leaving Cert/College, and so studied Physics, Accountancy and Home Economics. I believed maintaining at least 1 science subject was important as it can be a requisite for many college courses. Physics was also then key in my choice of Engineering at third level. Accountancy and Home Economics were subjects I enjoyed and performed quite well at but could not see myself developing a career in. Physics was a good basis for continuing on to study Electronic Engineering in college. Although having studied any science subject at Leaving Certificate level is required for entry to engineering I believe that Physics was the most relevant for my course. 
 
Process Engineer - Rebecca Tighe
Rebecca Tighe, Intel Physics, Biology, Higher level maths. I think physics and maths played a huge role in influencing my career decisions. Physics allowed me to develop an interest in understanding how things work and what the practical limitations on designs are. While maths allowed me to develop the logical thinking and problem solving skills which are essential to engineers in their every day jobs.  
 
Fisherman - Alan O'Neill
Alan O'Neill, Bord Iascaigh Mhara For my Leaving Cert, I took English, Irish, Maths, Physics, Engineering, Construction and Geography. Engineering proved useful as it introduced me to the different mechanisms needed to run basic engines.

This basic information helped me in my Skippers tickets. Geography was also useful for correct geographical terms and maths was essential for the Skippers ticket as it is very mathematically orientated - I would advise people to do Honours Maths, if possible. 
 
AITI Chartered Tax Adviser - Carol Kehoe
Carol Kehoe, Irish Tax Institute In school I chose accountancy - which was obviously relevant to my career. I also chose French, Physics and Geography - just in case accountancy wasn't for me!

When I finished my Leaving Cert, I chose the Accounting and Finance Degree in DCU and the Masters in Accounting after that. These courses were relevant for my chosen career, due to the fact that while studying to become a Registered Tax Consultant by doing the AITI exams, I also qualified as a Chartered Accountant. In hindsight, I would not have chosen differently. 
 
Electronic Engineer - Denis Canty
Denis Canty, STEPS My main subjects were Maths and Physics. Primarily because they teach you a lot about problem solving.  Also a transition year course in electronics and work experience in an electronic company also helped.

One aspect that I would change was that I did pass English as I thought I would not really need honours level. But I spend time on writing reports, for work and college, and emails, so good structured English writing is a key hidden skill. 
 
Computer Programmer - Jason Ruane
Jason Ruane, Intel

In secondary school I took Physics and Chemistry since I loved science. I also took Business Organisation but that was for the life skills it teaches rather than an intrinsic desire. I would gladly have enjoyed doing all the science subjects, to the complete detriment of all others but in hind-sight I am glad I took a subject such as Biz. Org. as it gave a rounding aspect to my secondary schooling.

I would have liked to have done Technical Drawing possibly but had to make a choice. I was only mediocre in German and Irish but again am glad I did them for at least secondary school as it challenged me and I did not get too narrowly focused on the technical subjects (there was plenty of time for that in third-level). In hindsight I realise that Maths was more important than I imagined and the two science subjects stood me in good stead. The choices I made for the subject selection was made by my passion for the sciences. Luckily I was afforded this leeway as the points for my intended course were not particularly high at the time.

 
 
  
 
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Junior Cycle Subjects  Junior Cycle Subjects
Leaving Cert Subjects  Leaving Cert Subjects

 Leaving Cert Subjects Guide to Subject Choice
 Leaving Cert Subjects Exam Papers
 Leaving Cert Subjects Marking Schemes 


 
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