Leaving Cert Physics

Katarzyna - Higher Level

It was a long night of studying before my most important exam. I had a strategy to first do my three experiments, and then do Question 5, followed by Question 10 part A and after those, the two parts of Question 12. Later I was going to decide what other two questions I was going to do. Overall I have to say that the experiment questions were very fair. I did Questions 1, 2 and 3. I heard that many people hoped for Joule's Law and the Simple Pendulum experiments to come up. Joule's Law wasn't there; instead we had the variation of current with voltage for a semiconductor diode. The Simple Pendulum experiment came up, where we had to use a graph we were given to calculate the acceleration due to gravity and it was quite a nice question to start with.  Then a question on finding the focal length for a converging lens and variation of frequency with length were also straight forward enough. Nothing really surprised me in this section, which made me worry if the other section was horrible. Question 5 was more difficult than usual. The questions were new and quite detailed. I managed to answer my best eight and moved on to Question 10 (a). The particle physics question was about positrons and pair annihilation. I thought that it was one of the easiest questions on the option I have seen. I didn't have problems with it. In question 12 I did parts (b) and (c). Again it was more difficult than usual. I didn't like any part, but these two suited me best. Part b was about refraction and part c was about latent heat of fusion. The other parts were about circular motion, which was difficult enough, and the photo cell which I didn't revise in the detail that the question required. Then I looked at other questions and Question 8 about fission and fusion jumped out at me. I scanned through the questions and was really pleased. However there was one down side; the quantities were not given at the bottom of the questions. I had to go and look for the required quantities in the log tables, which I have to say was time consuming because I had to keep on flicking back and forth from the quantities to the formulae and it was a bit tedious. It was the first time ever when I noticed that. My friends complained about this, because sometimes the quantities gave you a hint about what formula to use, whereas here you had no help. I really liked that question so when I solved everything I had one more question to do. I looked at question 11 and 9. I didn't like them and I doubted if I could answer them well. Then I looked at 6 and 7. The choice was easy because question 7 was a bit weird and the mechanics question was actually really nice compared to other years. Apart from the very last part of this question which I couldn't do, everything was fine. I am really happy with the paper because I expected it to be much worse. Last year's paper was horrifying and I was afraid that we will get something similar. I was glad that I didn't have to do any electricity questions, which I don't particularly like. I was ecstatic when I saw a whole question on modern physics which I really find interesting. I hope you found it okay as well. For all those who are finished today I wish a nice, long, sunny summer and for those who still have some exams to do, I wish you the best of luck! 

ISSU Commentary

Today Leaving Certificate physics students were tested on applying their knowledge to everyday scenarios. Rote learning would have been of little benefit, as has been the prevailing theme with most of the exams this year. Some teachers were full of praise for the more practical examination that their students encountered. The physics paper is split into Section A and B. Section A, at higher level was ‘as expected, and typical’. However some highlighted that students should have been given prior warning, to include their exam paper with the answer booklet, if they answered question 1. This had never happened before, and could have ‘thrown’ some students. That was not the only difference as students were given a graph, rather than being asked to draw one. The rest of section A was described by many as ‘fine’, some even highlighting question 4, and calling it ‘lovely’.Linking physics to real life was continued in section B, where questions were challenging but clearly phrased. Some found the first question particularly difficult. Some described the first question in Section B, question 5 as a ‘mixed bag and parts being more of a geography question, overall it was ‘testing’. Part G was commended for being realistic. The final question on the paper was ‘really nice according to many. The ordinary level paper held ‘very few surprises’ and the paper, like higher level required students to apply their knowledge effectively. Many singled out the Fukushima nuclear disaster as particularly topical. Overall both papers were generally good, but challenging in parts.

  Please note: blog posts reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union. Blogs are updated daily by 6.30 pm on scheduled examination dates