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Subject Choice

Leaving Certificate

Chemistry

Career Zone
QQI
NFQ Level
Duration
2 Years

Summary

Leaving Cert Chemistry - Chemistry
Leaving Cert Chemistry - Chemistry
Studying Chemistry - Chemistry
Studying Chemistry - Chemistry

Chemistry exists everywhere, not just in laboratories, but in every living thing on land and sea and in our bodies. Chemistry is often described as 'the central science' containing a lot of formulas. So, if you enjoyed Junior Cert Science and have done well in it, and in Maths, you should be a good candidate for Leaving Cert Chemistry.

Why Study Chemistry

This subject aims to provide a relevant course for students who will complete their study of chemistry at this level while, at the same time, providing a foundation course for those who will continue to study chemistry or related subjects following completion of their Leaving Certificate. Chemistry is considered most useful for careers in Pharmacy, Ag Science, Medicine, Engineering, General Sciences and Biotechnology. 

 What kind of student would Chemistry suit?

  • If you enjoyed Junior Cert Science and you have done well in this and in Maths, you should be a good candidate for Leaving Cert Chemistry.
  • If you apply attention to detail and are able to describe the procedures of experiments and understand vocabulary.
  • Students considering a career in any scientific discipline, such as chemistry, biology, environmental science, medicine, pharmacology, or material science.

Recommendations/Tips

  • It is recommended that a student undertaking the chemistry course has a good understanding of Junior Cert Science at Higher level.
  • Each student should have an aptitude for and an interest in laboratory work.
  • A student would be expected to have a reasonable level of Junior Cert Maths, either at Higher or Ordinary level.
This subject builds skills and knowledge that are particularly useful for careers in the following Career Sectors:

Grades Awarded

Marks Distribution 2019:

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 8244 students who sat the Higher Level Chemistry exam in 2019.

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 1262 students who sat the Ordinary Level Chemistry exam in 2019.

 

Explore Marks Distribution for all Subjects:

Course Overview

The subject aims to provide a relevant course for students who will complete their study of chemistry at this level while, at the same time, providing a foundation course for those who will continue to study chemistry or related subjects following completion of their Leaving Certificate.

The Leaving Cert. course follows on directly from Junior Cert Science, and deals with more topics in a lot more depth. The course includes 28 mandatory practical experiments which must be completed in the lab, as well as a written paper including questions on the experiments and examining the theory and applications of chemistry. There are an amount of calculations involved. Chemistry has been the second most popular science subject for some time now.

Quick facts

  • There is no element of continuous assessment but experimental copies must be available for inspection by State Examinations Commission

Course Content

The syllabus consists of approximately 70% pure chemistry; the remaining 30% deals with the social and applied aspects of chemistry.

The syllabus is comprised of all the essential and relevant topics within general chemistry. The major topics involved include the following:

  1. Atomic structure
  2. Volumetric analysis
  3. Organic chemistry
  4. Water chemistry
  5. Reaction mechanisms.

There also is an option to be taken as part of the course which involves the study of atmospheric and industrial chemistry or the study of materials and electrochemistry.

Experimental investigations are an essential part of the leaving certificate course. Each student must complete at least 28 experiments over the duration of the course.

Experimental work is examined as part of the leaving cert exam and forms the basis for a minimum of three questions on the exam paper.

Exam Structure

The leaving cert exam is three hours in duration. Each candidate must answer at least two questions from Section A (experimental section) and a maximum of six questions from Section B.

There are eleven questions in total on the exam paper, each carrying 50 marks.

There is no element of continuous assessment but experimental copies must be available for inspection by the State Examinations Commission. Students taking chemistry have to memorize the chemical components of a series of prescribed experiments. They will need to present the elements of four such experiments in their exam.

Career Possibilities

Chemistry is considered extremely useful for a wide range of career areas such as: Pharmacy, Ag Science, Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Engineering, General Sciences, Dietician, Nursing, Food Science, Biotechnology and Medical Laboratory Technology.

Career Guidance

Subject Group: Science

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

Required for 3rd Level?

This subject may be essential for entry into some Third Level courses. Click on the link below to view courses that may require this subject for entry:

Chemistry

Interviews

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

Marie O'Donovan, Environmental Officer

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.

... View Full Interview

Brian O'Connor, Analytical Chemist
Because I didn’t do my leaving certificate in Ireland I didn’t have to make big choices earlier on in my life. It was when I went to college that I chose the subjects that I wanted to do. I chose to major in Chemistry and to minor in Biology as a Pre Medical School student. In America you have to complete a degree first before you are accepted into medical school. By my third year of college I fell in love with chemistry and no longer wished to go to med school. It is funny how it all worked out but I have no regrets about it. I really enjoy being a chemist.

... View Full Interview

Jonathan Pugsley, Energy Manager

Science Subjects: Maths, Physics, Biology, Tech drawing, Chemistry  - I loved these and they are very applicable for my current career path.

Data analysis and problem solving - it's all about number crunching at the end of the day when working on technical problems.

Arts, English, English Literature and French are subjects I was never really interested in at school, but have become more interested in the last 10 years, as they are very useful for communication purposes, and that is now a very big part of my job.

... View Full Interview

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