What is Chemistry 

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 Certificate Chemistry 

Chemistry in RCC 

Since it’s introduction in 2015, Chemistry in RCC has become increasingly popular. Students have 5 classes of Chemistry per week which includes a double lesson where most practical's are carried out. 

Throughout the year various speakers have come into speak to the students about Science careers. This year alone we have had the Head of Science in Athlone Insititute of Technology, Dr. Nuala Cummins in to talk about the benefits of choosing a Science Career. During the Co-Vid 19 pandemic, Chemistry students had a webinar with the Royal Society of Chemistry and Trinity College Dublin entitled ‘Stories from the Lab’ where PhD researchers spoke about their Science career and what they were currently researching. 

Finally, this year 5th and 6th year Chemistry students took part in a ‘Spectroscopy in a Suitcase’ in conjunction with the Royal Society of Chemistry and Sligo IT .Spectroscopy in a Suitcase (SIAS) is an interactive education experience, designed to support and complement  classroom teaching. During the interactive workshop the SIAS ambassadors started by introducing the students to the principles of spectroscopy.  Moving on from theory to practice by revealing fascinating, real-life applications – giving the students a go at using IR and UV/vis instruments and (in some regions) NMR devices for themselves. 

The interactive style of the workshop helped students imagine what a career in chemistry might look like for them.  

 

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.  

   

The Chemistry Syllabus 

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. 

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

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: 

  • Atomic structure 

  • Volumetric analysis 

  • Organic chemistry 

  • Water chemistry 

  • 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. 

 

The Exam 

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. 

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. 

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. 

 

Chemistry Pictures