Chemistry (H): Precision was the order of the day

Reaction to Leaving Cert 2022 Chemistry (Higher Level) by Tara Lyons, Chemistry teacher at The Institute of Education.

Much of this paper was made up of a series of very short exact questions, so precision was the order of the day this year.

The topics examined were as in previous years and if students had practiced past papers they would have been well prepared and should expect a good grade in August.

Like last year, there was plenty of choice, as students were required to answer just six questions (instead of the usual eight) due to the changes made to the paper as a result of Covid.

Section A:

Question 1: This question on Volumetric Analysis had the usual array of questions such as practical procedures, calculations and questions unique to the experiment asked, which was determination of the total hardness in a water sample. This experiment has been examined several times before and this year’s questions were similar to previous years.

Question 2: The usual topic of organic chemistry experiments appeared here. Unlike the previous two years however, this year two experiments were examined within the question. The topics being preparation and reactions of ethene and the technique of recrystallisation.

Question 3: There were no major surprises here with a rates of reaction experiment involving plotting a graph to illustrate how the presence of a catalyst affects the rate.

Section B:

Question 4: This is a question made up of short questions from all over the syllabus. Short precise answers are required, and this year was no different. The usual topics of atomic theory, organic chemistry and two stoichiometry parts made up most of the questions. As in 2021, an extra part was given to allow greater choice for students due to the pandemic.

Question 5: The areas of atomic theory in this year’s paper were old favourites. Rutherford’s gold foil experiment and radioactivity made an appearance along with the electron configuration of calcium and students needed to understand how this would relate to its reactivity.

Question 6: In this fuels and heats of reaction question, a salute, of sorts, to green energy was made. Electric and hybrid cars were centre stage and there was also mention of the trial of hydrogen fuel-cell electric double deckers by Dublin Bus.

Question 7: Chemical equilibrium, involving a totally gaseous reaction system appeared, with the usual mix of definitions, calculations and application of Le Châtelier’s principle.

Question 8: An ester found in raspberries and acid reactions was asked in this expected general organic chemistry question. Students needed a good knowledge of molecular structure and writing balanced equations to score high in this question.

Question 9: pH definitions and calculations along with pH curves appeared once again as a full question here.

Question 10: In this question, students were given three parts, to choose two. Gases, electronegativity, and an interesting looking stoichiometry problem appeared. Students should have been happy to see the trend continuing this year of asking more atomic theory in this question.

Question 11: Finally, as with last year’s paper, there were four (instead of the usual three) parts examined in this question. Oxidation and reduction, more organic chemistry, rates of reactions and the options all made an appearance.