Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Keith Lynch from Defence Forces to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Keith Lynch

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Defence Forces

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  Keith Lynch
Only enter the Defence Forces if you are willing to commit to it 100% as it is a long tough road which can be extremely rewarding if you fully engage it. Like everything in this life, you get out what you put in.
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Investigative?
Investigative 
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
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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...
Ships Engineer - Brendan Cavanagh
Brendan Cavanagh, Bord Iascaigh Mhara I had chosen physics, engineering and technical drawing which all helped when I went to train in BIM college 
 
Environmental Officer - Marie O'Donovan
Marie O'Donovan, CRH plc

The most relelvant subjects to my college course  which I choose for my leaving certificate were physics & chemistry.

I also had honours maths which was essential along with one science subject for entry into my college course.

These three subjects have been a useful back up throughout my career so far.

I think I choose well,  the one thing I would change about my choices would be to do technical drawing.

 
 
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...

 
 
Design Engineer  - Tracey Roche
Tracey Roche, Analog Devices

My Leaving Cert subjects were as follows: English, Irish, Maths, French (obligatory subjects. My choice subjects were: Accounting, Physics & Chemistry. I did all honours subjects and I think doing honours Maths and English especially really help.

English is not immediately obvious when one thinks of a career in Engineering, but from the point of view of report writing and corresponding with team members and even customers via email etc, it is a very important skill to master.

I was not 100% sure of my career path at the time of choosing the above mentioned "choice-subjects". My way of thinking was, one business subject, one science and another one that I thought I might like or be good at. Physics, Chemistry and Accounting all have a common theme of maths and problem solving, this was my link into Electronic Engineering... In hindsight, had some form of technology or electronics courses been available in my school, I think these might have been helpful. I'm not sure which subject I would have replaced though!

 
 
Third Secretary - Nora Barry
Nora Barry, Civil and Public Service Jobs In Leaving Cert I chose to study French, German, Physics and Chemistry. The languages are relevant to my current career, where there is an emphasis on languages and communication. On hindsight, it would have been very useful to have studied History, as an in-depth knowledge of the past would be helpful.

The Sciences I believe, though not obviously applicable, did aid me in the development of analytical and logical thinking. 
 
Compliance Manager - Louise Keane
Louise Keane, PharmaChemical Ireland I studied general science for Junior certificate and biology for leaving certificate. In first year of the third level science course all science subjects - biology, chemistry, and physics were covered in addition to maths.

While I did not complete the subjects for leaving certificate I did pass all subjects at the end of first year. The modules in each subject were covered at a more basic level for the leaving certificate and in some cases the subject matter was the same.

I did feel that if I had studied Chemistry in school it would have been of benefit to me in third level. However it did not hinder my career once I started employment in the industry. 
 
Engineer - Process - John Smith
John Smith, Intel

Like most young people at the time of picking Leaving Certificate subjects I was completely undecided as to what I wanted to do so I kept my options open by choosing a Business subject - Business organisation, Science subject - Physics & Chemistry, language - German. After two years of science for Leaving Cert it was then I realised that I wanted to pursue a career in physical sciences.

The one disadvantage I had in starting college was that I hadn't studied Biology before (which was compulsory in first year college science) so straight away I needed to pay more attention to this subject in 1st year science. Had I known when picking leaving cert subjects that I wanted to pursue a career in physical sciences then Biology would have been a wise choice.

My PhD was in the area of physical chemistry (as opposed to organic/inorganic where most graduates end up in the pharmaceutical sector) and most of the chemistry associated with semiconductor processing is physical so it was a wise choice!

 
 
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.

 
 
Materials Engineer - Angie O'Keeffe
Angie O'Keeffe, Hewlett-Packard

Being the youngest in our family I got lots of advice from my older siblings when picking my subjects in school. I took a broad spectrum to give me a bigger career choice later so I ended up with the usual subjects Irish, English, Maths, French, and then chose Chemistry, Business Organisation and Music.

In hindsight I should have done Physics instead of Music, but I did get a good appreciation of the great composers, listened to some fantastic music for those two years and got to play in the school orchestra. I got to do Physics in college later. Chemistry was my favourite subject and we had great labs so it made my transition to Science in UCD really easy. I loved Maths too though I still struggle with the demons of statistics but there is always people around to help with that, even to this day.

 
 
Potter - Ray Power
Ray Power, Design & Crafts Council of Ireland Art, Physics, Accountancy along with the compulsary ones. 
 
  
 
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Junior Cycle Subjects  Junior Cycle Subjects
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