Tuesday 23 July 2019

Leaving Certificate Chemistry: 'Straightforward and fair' with a small surprise

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Straight-forward and fair, and the one thing that stood out is that there were three questions involving graphs, instead of the usual one, was how teacher Tara Lyons described the Leaving Cert higher level Chemistry paper.

Ms Lyons, of Dublin’s Institute of Education, also noted that "was a bit more emphasis this year on atomic theory than in previous years, but nothing too challenging".

And she said it was "nice to see the 150-year anniversary of the periodic table acknowledged in Question 5."

Another teacher, Dr Martina Audley McDonagh of Yeats College, Galway, agreed that students should be happy with the paper.

She said, while initially they may have been surprised to see so many images, photographs, tables and graphs on the exam paper, on further inspection the paper offered a wide range of questions.

"Students that were well prepared by completing past exam papers should have found this a fair paper, especially Q9, on rates, and Q11b,  on equilibrium," said Ms McDonagh.

Noting Q7 (b) involving drawing a graph and using the graph to predict the value of Kw, and then using this to calculate pH, Ms Lyons said; "This part of the question would have been challenging to students."

Q8, a general organic chemistry question, was one where "knowing structures and homologous series was a must", said Ms Lyons.

In Q8, students had to plot a graph and make a prediction, and Dr McDonagh said they may have been put off with parts of the question, when they were asked to predict the approximate boiling point of the next alcohol.

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