Leaving Certificate 2022: Physics Higher Level ‘Designed to differentiate H1 and H2 students’

A challenging and clever paper designed to set H1 and H2 students apart, teacher Pat Doyle describes the Leaving Certificate Physics Higher Level paper.

Doyle from The Institute of Education, Dublin said students who worked hard and covered the entire syllabus in their revision would be rewarded.

He noticed a typo in Q12a, which was about two scientists, Walton and Cockcroft. Walton is the only Irish person to have received the Nobel Prize in Physics. The question stated that the protons were accelerated through a potential difference of 70kV, while Mr Doyle said it should have been 700kV.

He stated that “even if the introduction was flawed, the student would still be able to complete the question, and a really good student would have noticed the mistake”.

Mr. Doyle noted that the extra choices on the paper but added that the mix of topics in some questions could create difficulties for students who did not cover the entire syllabus in their revision. He referred to questions 5, 11, 13 and 14B, where candidates could find themselves seriously limited for election.

The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) subject representative, John Connelly, considered it a “very reasonable” paper.

Mr Connelly of St Flannan’s College, Ennis, Co Clare, said that students were given a very good start with Section A practical questions, which were “in line with the current clear and concise physics curriculum”. Like all Leaving Certificate papers in 2022, students had more choices and had to answer two out of five questions here instead of the traditional three out of four.

Tom Dixon, the subject representative for the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), thought it was “a good paper overall”, but said that students may find the wording on questions 2 and 5 “a bit difficult as it is more difficult than the general viewer”. was different, but other than that they were good”.

In section B, for longer questions, candidates were required to answer four out of nine questions instead of five out of eight.

Mr. Dixon of Meinuth Post Primary School, Ko Kildare, thought that some students might find Q7, “difficult”, while Mr. Doyle said this question would have been great for any student taking applied mathematics.

Mr Dixon, on the other hand, said it was “good to get the full 56-marker question on the semi-conductor” in Q8.

In this section, Mr Connelly thought featuring Q13 polymath Kristian Huygens was “challenging”, while Mr Doyle said it was a “fairly good” question as it was a mix of two disciplines, light and mechanics. Mr Doyle said the mix may have thrown some students off.

Mr Connelly said questions 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 were all “very reasonable”.

He described Q11 as “an excellent example of how physics can transcend into other disciplines, in this case archaeology”. Here, students were asked to apply their higher-order thinking skills to the Bronze Age Fluacht Fiad, a method whereby a large container of water was heated using hot stones.

Mr Doyle described Q11, a mixture of heat, sound and radioactivity, as an “easy question”, but said that “it could cause problems for students who skipped parts of the curriculum in their revision “. Mr Dixon said the mix here may have thrown some students off.

While Mr Doyle noted the typo in Q12(a), Mr Connelly considered Q12(a) “very fair” and said that Q14 was balanced and fair, with a good choice for students. Mr Doyle welcomed the full question on particle physics, Q12 and said that the students “will have no difficulty in completing it”.

Mr Doyle said perhaps more ideas could have been put into the words of Q14b, which included a picture of the Eiffel Tower. “From looking at the picture, the toy could hit the tower, which would have an effect on what would happen in the question. The idea behind the question was clever though,” he said. Mr. Dixon remarked that “out of the four in question At least three parts were good” and the students only had to answer two.

On a general level, Mr Connelly described it as “a good paper, with a good choice of questions”, while Mr Dixon said the experiments were good and the long questions had good spread.