Saturday 20 January 2018

Hard-working pupils would have been rewarded

LC Phsyics

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

A return to more maths on the Leaving Certificate Physics higher level paper was noted by teachers.

Michael Gillespie, of the Teachers' Union of Ireland and St Brendan's Community School Birr, said it was good to see because a certain amount of physics was about maths.

Pat Doyle of the Institute of Education, Dublin, also commented on the amount of mathematical calculations required, but said the questions were fair.

He said hard-working pupils would have been rewarded, particularly if they paid attention to past papers.

Pupils would have been happy to see topics such as planetary motion, featuring the International Space Station, and particle physics, linked to the work of ETS Walton, the Nobel Prize-winning Irish physicist.

Mr Doyle said pupils may have been surprised to see Boyle's Law as it was asked only two years ago.

Mr Gillespie said candidates were a bit taken aback at two mechanics questions, on Boyle's Law and equilibrium, although they liked both, he said.

He was also surprised that there wasn't more on electromagnetic induction and electricity, although question 9 made up for that with a full question on radioactivity, "which always get their attention".

He said a feature of the paper was the way questions were broken down into many parts, which students like because it puts a focus on what is required.

Eleanor Nolan of Yeats College, Galway, said overall, pupils were happy, especially with section A, while section B had a few surprises with the often easy short questions providing little room to manoeuvre


Pupils would not have been able to predict question 11, which crossed several topics including electromagnetism but was a great choice for those who braved the text.

She thought weaker candidates would have been disappointed with the choice offered in question 12, often a good option if you are struggling elsewhere. "Heat showed up in a short question here but you had to earn your marks and this is probably the hardest question of the paper," she said

On the other hand, Mr Gillespie, who thought weaker pupils would have struggled with the "very wordy" question 11, described question 12 as "very nice".

Irish Independent

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