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 Frank Keenaghan from An Garda Síochána to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Frank Keenaghan

Detective

An Garda Síochána

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  Frank Keenaghan
I would say to knuckle down and achieve the best results possible in the Leaving Certificate. Then I would suggest availing of any college courses on offer bearing in mind that there is ample time to make career choices. Carry out your own enquiries and see what exactly is on offer.

Do not join An Garda Síochána to become a Detective - this takes time and one must demonstrate a propensity for crime work before being appointed a Detective. There are other career opportunities within this organisation so it’s important to have an open mind.

Obtain or stay in employment while waiting to be called for medicals and other tests. All work provides life experience and opportunities. My first job equipped me in the areas of social skills and personnel management. Don't drift and take the easy option. Make a decision, set the bar high and go for it.

It is a very rewarding job that I particularly enjoy and derive great job satisfaction from. Confidence, social skills and the ability to network are important.
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Realist 
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

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... 60
Read what others say about their Leaving Cert. Subject Choices...
Mechanical Engineer - Afra Ronayne
Afra Ronayne, ESB In school apart from the three basics of English, Irish and Maths I also took German, Accounting, Physics and Chemistry. Although Physics and Chemistry were not needed to get into the engineering course it was beneficial to have them as we had to take these subjects in first year.

However, I did not do technical drawing so I had to start this from scratch in first year of college so most people have at least one subject that they have never done before. 
 
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.

 
 
Software Engineer - Karl Stanley
Karl Stanley, Smart Futures For my Leaving Cert. I took Maths - higher, Applied Maths - higher,  Physics - higher, Chemistry - higher, Music - higher, English - higher, German - higher, Irish - ordinary As you can see my abilities and interests were more in the maths+science sphere than anything else.

I was very lucky that at the time Mt. Temple had very capable maths+science teachers, which certainly made things easier for me. To be honest, in school I didn't really think about 3rd level or careers or anything until I was in 6th year (by which stage I'd already picked my subjects). I just picked the subjects I enjoyed and felt I had a natural knack for.

For the career I'm in now I don't think I could have picked better school subjects. It might have helped me to know a bit more about business-related subjects, but I had no interest in accountancy or commerce at the time.

I am considering taking an evening course in the legal+financial aspects to running a business to make up for this. However, as a teenager I think I was better off studying subjects that I had a genuine interest in, otherwise I would have found it very hard to motivate myself to study. 
 
Consulting Engineer - Peter LaComber
Peter LaComber, CRH plc

I chose Physics, Chemistry and Technical Drawing as my optional subjects for the Leaving Certificate with a view to choosing an engineering course at third level.

These subjects certainly helped with first year in college as I had a foundation in those subjects to build on.

In hindsight, I would have chosen Applied Maths over Technical Drawing as the engineering course had a significant Applied Maths content.

Overall, I feel my subject choices were appropriate for my career choice.

 
 
School Principal - Paul Meany
Paul Meany, Department of Education and Skills Irish, English, Maths, French, Physics, Chemistry. For third level I had to chose between a degree in English and a degree in Science and I chose the B.Sc. 
 
R&D Engineer - Liam McCaul
Liam McCaul, Sustainable Energy Authority Physics, Chemistry and French. I also studied German in college. It is good to have another language regardless of what it is. Anything to do with Engineering, I would highly suggest Maths and Physics. 
 
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. 
 
Chemical Engineer - Colm Hofler
Colm Hofler, CRH plc I took Chemistry, Physics, Applied Maths, Technical drawing and French. It then seemed pretty natural to choose engineering in college. If I could choose again I may have chosen something more business orientated like finance or economics. 
 
Engineer - Development - John Oliver
John Oliver, Hewlett-Packard I chose mostly science related subjects for the Leaving Cert predominantly because I found them the most interesting rather than really knowing what I wanted to do going into 5th year. Doing Maths, Physics and Chemistry definitely set me up well for Engineering and helped me decide that it would be an area of interest. In hindsight, I would have liked to have done Business Studies or Economics instead of Technical drawing. I think I had enough technical subjects and that was the one I liked least. I've been more interested in Economics and Business at later stages of my career and learning more at that time may have given me more pause for thought when going to college and a better balance of subjects. 
 
Mechanical Engineer - John Harding
John Harding, ESB I always knew I wanted some form of a technical or design job so I took the following subjects for leaving cert; (Maths, English, Irish - because you have to) Physics, Engineering, Building Construction & Agricultural Science. I believe these subjects have all helped me throughout my college days as they gave a great basis of what is taught in college. 
 
  
 
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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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