This course combines parts of both Leaving Cert Physics and Leaving Cert Chemistry into a single course which is examined separately. It includes mandatory practical experiments which must be completed and written up, as well as a written examination on the theory and applications of both disciplines.
Why Study Physics & Chemistry
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.
What kind of Student would Physics and Chemistry suit
- Anyone considering a career in a scientific discipline, such as physics, chemistry, environmental science, or medicine.
- Students who have an interest in both physics and chemistry, but don't have enough time to commit to both subjects separately. Biology students may fall into this category.
This subject builds skills and knowledge that are particularly useful for careers in the following Career Sectors:
Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 74 students who sat the Ordinary Level Physics and Chemistry exam in 2019.
Explore Marks Distribution for all Subjects:
This remains a minority subject in terms of its popularity with less than 500 students sitting the exam at Higher Level and just 140 at Ordinary Level last year.
Due to large amounts of overlap, it is not possible to take this subject with either Physics or Chemistry.
The syllabus consists of the following main topics:
- Mechanics including velocity, acceleration, mass, work, and energy
- Light - optics: the laws of reflection and refraction, mirrors and lenses
- Light - wave theory; electromagnetic spectrum and photoemission
- Introduction to Static and Current Electricity
- Magnetism and Electromagnetism
- Heat, Temperature and Kinetic Theory
- Structure of the Atom and the Periodic Table
- Molecular Theory - structure and shape of simple molecules
- Chemical Bonding - ionic, covalent and metallic bonds
- Chemical Reactions and Chemical Equations (including relative atomic mass)
- Introduction to Thermochemistry and the First Law of Thermodynamics
- Chemical Reactions - acid-base theory; oxidation and reduction
- Electrochemistry and the Activity Series
- The Chemistry of Hydrogen, Oxygen and Chlorine
- Introduction to Organic Chemistry
Physics and Chemistry is an experimental and practical subject and practical work by students is regarded as an integral part of the course. A list of suitable experiments to be undertaken by students is included in each section of the syllabus.
Leaving Certificate Physics and Chemistry is examined at two levels - Ordinary and Higher level. Assessment is by terminal examination paper. Higher level candidates are expected to demonstrate a greater depth of understanding than are Ordinary level candidates. Records of practical work done by students are kept and made available for inspection.
Ordinary & Higher Papers
This is a 3-hour exam with six questions to be answered. Students can answer any three questions from Section I and any three questions from Section II. All the questions carry equal marks. However, in each section, one additional mark will be given to each of the first two questions for which the highest marks are obtained.
This subject is useful in related careers in a scientific discipline, such as physics, chemistry, environmental science, or medicine.
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 is not an essential requirement for any courses in the CAO system.