Maths and radioactivity on rewarding Leaving Certificate physics paper

Surprises and challenges in accountancy

It was a good day for lovers of numbers as 6,677 physics students took on a maths-heavy exam with more than the usual measure of radioactivity.

Michael Gillespie of St Brendan's Community School in Birr, Co Offaly, said his students liked the paper, especially the maths.

“A lot of mathematically-strong students like to see numbers – they’re not seeing so much of that on Project Maths so they enjoyed doing the sums,” said Mr Gillespie, a subject representative for the TUI.

“Overall it was a pretty good response from a mixed level group in my school. Students were surprised to see early questions on mechanics but they were approachable. The paper was broken down well from the point of view of marks. The students like that as they can easily identify how they are doing as they go along.”


Unusually, question nine was a full question on radioactivity, featuring the Chernobyl nuclear reactors.

"The higher level students really made hay with that one. They considered themselves lucky as they are all very interested in radioactivity," said Mr Gillespie.

Despite a few unexpected elements, students were broadly happy with yesterday's higher level accountancy paper.

Almost 6,000 students took accounting, with about 4,500 taking the subject at higher level.

"This was a fair paper overall but part C of question 5 was unexpected as it required students to advise on a possible expansion of the business in a the food sector," said Veronica Edwards, TUI subject representative for accounting. "It's not outside the scope of the syllabus but hadn't appeared on an exam in that way before."

There was a large element of theory to yesterday’s paper as well, with theory components on five out of nine elements.

"Theory has been an increasing feature of the exam in recent years," said Veronica Edwards, who teaches at Carrigallen Vocational School, Co Leitrim.

ASTI representative Peter Quinn felt it was a challenging exam, especially an early question on the Universal Social Charge.