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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...
Project Manager - John Liston
John Liston, Forestry Careers IrelandAll science subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Physics. 
  go to interview...
 
Electronic Engineer - Shane Callanan
Shane Callanan, Smart FuturesWhen in I was in school I didn’t really have a definite career plan. However I did prefer the Science subjects in general over languages or Business type subjects. Along with the obligatory subjects, I continued with Physics, Chemistry and Honours Maths for my leaving certificate, not so much as a conscious career choice but because I liked them. However as it turned out these all helped me during my course, and they tied in with my career choice. 
  go to interview...
 
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...
 
School Principal - Paul Meany
Paul Meany, Department of Education and SkillsIrish, English, Maths, French, Physics, Chemistry. For third level I had to chose between a degree in English and a degree in Science and I chose the B.Sc. 
  go to interview...
 
Speech and Language - Lisa Kelly
Lisa Kelly, Health Service ExecutiveFor my Leaving Cert I studied Biology, Chemistry, Economics and French along with the other core subjects. Biology and English had the most relevance to my future studies. 
  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...
 
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...
 
Design Engineer  - Tracey Roche
Tracey Roche, Analog Devices

My Leaving Cert subjects were as follows: English, Irish, Maths, French (obligatory subjects). My choice subjects were: Accounting, Physics & Chemistry. I did all honours subjects and I think doing honours Maths and English especially really help.

English is not immediately obvious when one thinks of a career in Engineering, but from the point of view of report writing and corresponding with team members and even customers via email etc, it is a very important skill to master.

I was not 100% sure of my career path at the time of choosing the above mentioned "choice-subjects". My way of thinking was, one business subject, one science and another one that I thought I might like or be good at. Physics, Chemistry and Accounting all have a common theme of maths and problem solving, this was my link into Electronic Engineering... In hindsight, had some form of technology or electronics courses been available in my school, I think these might have been helpful. I'm not sure which subject I would have replaced though!

 
  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...
 
Environmental Officer - Marie O'Donovan
Marie O'Donovan, CRH plc

The most relelvant subjects to my college course  which I choose for my leaving certificate were physics & chemistry.

I also had honours maths which was essential along with one science subject for entry into my college course.

These three subjects have been a useful back up throughout my career so far.

I think I choose well,  the one thing I would change about my choices would be to do technical drawing.

 
  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