Leaving Cert physics: Rembrandt and telecommunications in ‘fair’ exam

‘No nasty surprises’ this year as students face wide-ranging test of the syllabus

Leaving Cert physics: students were “generally happy” and had a good choice of questions. Photograph: iStock

Leaving Cert physics: students were “generally happy” and had a good choice of questions. Photograph: iStock


Students were “generally happy” and felt they had a good choice of questions in today’s Leaving Cert physics exams.

Teresa Considine, a teacher at St Flannan’s College, in Ennis, Co Clare, said there were no surprises compared with last year: section A was broadly in line with the format in other years; section B offered students choice.

Pat Doyle, a physics teacher at the Institute of Education, in Dublin, said that “well-prepared students will do well on this exam” and that “the examiners appear to be designing the paper to ensure that students cover the entire course”.

This year’s paper saw the combination of areas that would previously have appeared individually. Three questions in section B saw topics such as light and sound, and electricity and electromagnetism, appear together.

Ms Considine said there were 2½ questions on modern physics, which “was welcomed”.

The exam this year saw a continuation of questions on historical discoveries. Students could answer on Boyle’s law, Rutherford’s model of the atom and the development of transatlantic telecommunications.

Question 12 would have been an advantage to applied-maths students; question 2 could also have proved slightly tricky to some students, given its inclusion of maths.

Last year saw a shock for some students, as a question about particle physics had come up in only half a question; some teachers were afraid the topic would not come up this year. But Ms Considine was “glad to see that particle physics had not been removed”.

Both she and Mr Doyle said the paper was fair and had no nasty surprises.

Try this at home

From the higher Leaving Certificate physics paper
It has recently been suggested that the 17th-century Dutch artist Rembrandt used a concave mirror to help him etch self-portraits by projecting an inverted image of himself on to a copper sheet. Draw a ray diagram to illustrate how Rembrandt used a concave mirror in this way.