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Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.

Subject Choice for Leaving Cert...

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Chemistry

Ed Zone

These courses enable learners to gain recognition for the achievement of considerable knowledge in a range of subject areas, as for example in the Leaving Certificate and one-year Post Leaving Certificate courses.

Courses may be academic or practical in focus, and awards that are recognised by the National Framework of Qualifications may lead to progression opportunities higher up in the framework.

Employment Opportunities
The majority of people with certificates at this level are well prepared for occupations that involve using their knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include office secretary, customer service representatives, special needs assistant, retail salespersons and childcare workers.

Level on the National Framework of Qualifications
2 Years
Duration of course
Grades Awarded

Marks Distribution 2018:
Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 8162 students who sat the Higher Level Chemistry exam in 2018.

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 1306 students who sat the Ordinary Level Chemistry exam in 2018.

In brief... header image

Chemistry exists everywhere, not just in laboratories, but in every living thing on land and sea and in our bodies. Chemistry is often described as 'the central science' containing a lot of formulas. So, if you enjoyed Junior Cert Science and have done well in it, and in Maths, you should be a good candidate for Leaving Cert Chemistry.


Why Study this?header image

Why Study Chemistry

This subject aims to provide a relevant course for students who will complete their study of chemistry at this level while, at the same time, providing a foundation course for those who will continue to study chemistry or related subjects following completion of their Leaving Certificate. Chemistry is considered most useful for careers in Pharmacy, Ag Science, Medicine, Engineering, General Sciences and Biotechnology. 

 What kind of student would Chemistry suit?

  • If you enjoyed Junior Cert Science and you have done well in this and in Maths, you should be a good candidate for Leaving Cert Chemistry.
  • If you apply attention to detail and are able to describe the procedures of experiments and understand vocabulary.
  • Students considering a career in any scientific discipline, such as chemistry, biology, environmental science, medicine, pharmacology, or material science.

Recommendations/Tips

  • It is recommended that a student undertaking the chemistry course has a good understanding of Junior Cert Science at Higher level.
  • Each student should have an aptitude for and an interest in laboratory work.
  • A student would be expected to have a reasonable level of Junior Cert Maths, either at Higher or Ordinary level.


Videos & Interviews header image

Leaving Cert Chemistry - Chemistry

Studying Chemistry - Chemistry


Read what others say about their Leaving Cert. Subject Choices...
Planetary Scientist - Caitriona Jackman
Caitriona Jackman, Smart Futures

For Leaving Certificate I did the usual English, Irish, Maths, then Physics which I loved, Chemistry which I wasn’t great at (kept breaking stuff in the practicals), French, Geography and Music as an extra. I really enjoyed English actually, and even though a lot of my job involves computer programming and some hard maths and physics, I still rely heavily on my writing skills.

As important as it is to have technical ability in my job, it is still crucial to be able to communicate any results I find. One of the main tasks for me is to write papers for scientific journals, and occasionally to write articles for a more general audience.

My French is also useful because I collaborate with several people from a lab in Paris and they like if I make an effort to speak a bit of French, even though my accent is very embarrassing!

 
  go to interview...
 
Design Engineer - Sinead Kenny
Sinead Kenny, Smart FuturesI wasn’t 100% sure that I would end up in the science/engineering sector when I was at school. I found doing transition year really helped me to explore the various options that were available. This helped me to decide the subjects for my leaving certificate. I chose physics, chemistry & accounting, again keeping my options open. At the moment I am doing a masters for which I have to do aspects of accounting & economics so the accounting I did for my leaving has come in handy! 
  go to interview...
 
Horticulturist - Paul Dowling
Paul Dowling, TeagascBiology and Chemistry were my favorites. Another which I found useful was Woodwork. Unfortunately, I gave up Woodwork, which is a good practical subject too early. The subjects I really enjoyed the most were Biology and Chemistry. Other practical subjects like Metalwork or Orienteering have been helpful. Biology is most important for anyone going into Horticulture as it covers propagation and helps with the identification of plant names, species and families through the universal use of Latin. Chemistry is also helpful as the use of various chemicals is a constant in horticulture. The chemical content and dangers of fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides in use in Amenity Horticulture needs to be understood anyone going into this business.  
  go to interview...
 
Software Engineer - Karl Stanley
Karl Stanley, Smart FuturesFor my Leaving Cert. I took Maths - higher, Applied Maths - higher,  Physics - higher, Chemistry - higher, Music - higher, English - higher, German - higher, Irish - ordinary As you can see my abilities and interests were more in the maths+science sphere than anything else.

I was very lucky that at the time Mt. Temple had very capable maths+science teachers, which certainly made things easier for me. To be honest, in school I didn't really think about 3rd level or careers or anything until I was in 6th year (by which stage I'd already picked my subjects). I just picked the subjects I enjoyed and felt I had a natural knack for.

For the career I'm in now I don't think I could have picked better school subjects. It might have helped me to know a bit more about business-related subjects, but I had no interest in accountancy or commerce at the time.

I am considering taking an evening course in the legal+financial aspects to running a business to make up for this. However, as a teenager I think I was better off studying subjects that I had a genuine interest in, otherwise I would have found it very hard to motivate myself to study. 
  go to interview...
 
R&D Engineer - Liam McCaul
Liam McCaul, Sustainable Energy AuthorityPhysics, Chemistry and French. I also studied German in college. It is good to have another language regardless of what it is. Anything to do with Engineering, I would highly suggest Maths and Physics. 
  go to interview...
 
Chef - David Kehoe
David Kehoe, Careers PortalMaths, English, French, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Home Economics. All of them influenced my career as I need all of them eg. without maths I couldn't deal with the financial part of the job. 
  go to interview...
 
Ambulance / Paramedic - Keith Hayes
Keith Hayes, Health Service ExecutiveIn school there was very poor attention given to, or ‘guidance’ towards suitable careers. I was lucky I knew what I wanted to do. This, looking back was disappointing because I had no drive to go to third level college. I knew all I needed to be a Paramedic was the Leaving Cert.

In the Leaving Cert I took English, Irish, Maths, French, Biology, Chemistry and History pretty much the standard, they didn’t really have much influence on my career choice. That said, Biology and Chemistry are a great foundation for studying medicine as a Paramedic. 
  go to interview...
 
Transport Infrastructure Ireland - Ciaran MacSamhrain
Ciaran MacSamhrain, Languages ConnectIrish, English, French, Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Latin (I failed Latin(!) but only concentrated on 6 subjects because, at least at that time, all colleges only counted up to 6 subjects when calculating entry points). I stayed in Honours Maths and choose Physics in order to not rule out opting for engineering. I would not have done anything differently in hindsight.  
  go to interview...
 
Mechanical Engineer - Natasha Ibanez
Natasha Ibanez , CRH plcWe had no Physics, Chemistry and other technical subjects in the school I attended, which would have been useful for my career development.  I did however have the opportunitiy to study Honours Maths in preparation for my current career.

In hindsight I would have looked for the opportunitiy to at least study Applied Maths, which would have made it easier to go through first year in college.

I am delighted I went to UCD, where it was possible to do one common year before choosing the Engineering discipline. 
  go to interview...
 
Guidance Counsellor - Brian Howard
Brian Howard, Department of Education and Skills

For my Leaving Certificate I studied the three compulsory subjects: English, Irish and Maths. I had a great interest in science so I chose to do two science subjects - Biology and Chemistry. I wanted to keep as many options open as possible as I wasn't 100% sure what I wanted to do on leaving school so I chose one business subject - Economics and I chose a language - French, in order to keep all the universities open also.

In hindsight I think this was a good selection of subjects as it kept a lot of doors open while also allowing me to chose subjects I liked and did well in. I eventually went on to do a science degree so my 2 Leaving Certificate science subjects came in handy. Once I had my degree this allowed me to teach and subsequently do my postgraduate in Guidance Counselling.

 
  go to interview...
 
 

Course Overview header image

The subject aims to provide a relevant course for students who will complete their study of chemistry at this level while, at the same time, providing a foundation course for those who will continue to study chemistry or related subjects following completion of their Leaving Certificate.

The Leaving Cert. course follows on directly from Junior Cert Science, and deals with more topics in a lot more depth. The course includes 28 mandatory practical experiments which must be completed in the lab, as well as a written paper including questions on the experiments and examining the theory and applications of chemistry. There are an amount of calculations involved. Chemistry has been the second most popular science subject for some time now.

Quick facts

  • There is no element of continuous assessment but experimental copies must be available for inspection by State Examinations Commission

Course Contentheader image

The syllabus consists of approximately 70% pure chemistry; the remaining 30% deals with the social and applied aspects of chemistry.

The syllabus is comprised of all the essential and relevant topics within general chemistry. The major topics involved include the following:

  1. Atomic structure
  2. Volumetric analysis
  3. Organic chemistry
  4. Water chemistry
  5. Reaction mechanisms.

There also is an option to be taken as part of the course which involves the study of atmospheric and industrial chemistry or the study of materials and electrochemistry.

Experimental investigations are an essential part of the leaving certificate course. Each student must complete at least 28 experiments over the duration of the course.

Experimental work is examined as part of the leaving cert exam and forms the basis for a minimum of three questions on the exam paper.


Exam Structure header image

The leaving cert exam is three hours in duration. Each candidate must answer at least two questions from Section A (experimental section) and a maximum of six questions from Section B.

There are eleven questions in total on the exam paper, each carrying 50 marks.

There is no element of continuous assessment but experimental copies must be available for inspection by the State Examinations Commission. Students taking chemistry have to memorize the chemical components of a series of prescribed experiments. They will need to present the elements of four such experiments in their exam.


Career Possibilities header image

Chemistry is considered extremely useful for a wide range of career areas such as: Pharmacy, Ag Science, Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Engineering, General Sciences, Dietician, Nursing, Food Science, Biotechnology and Medical Laboratory Technology.



Career Guidance