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.
Physics aims to enhance a student’s ability to think logically, observe and understand scientific method. The course is heavily based around experiments - students are required to complete and write reports on experiments throughout the two years, and be fully aware of how to accurately record and analyse results and how to minimise and accommodate for experimental errors.
What type of student might Physics suit?
Students who were successful in their Junior Cert Maths and Science examinations, particularly in the Physics section of the Science course .
Pupils should become able to draw and read graphs and be competent in using a calculator throughout the course.
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
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.
At Higher Level, there is a deeper, more quantitative treatment of physics.
The course also consists of mandatory experiments complimenting each section in an aim to develop students’ technical skills and enhance understanding and reinforce key concepts.
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:
Answer 3 out of 4 questions
120 marks: 40 marks per question
Questions are based on experimental procedures and use of results
Answer 5 out of 8 questions
280 marks: 56 marks per question
Questions are more broad and theory based