Study Resources

What does it take to get a H1 in Higher Level Chemistry?

Brian Gordon, past student from The Institute of Education who achieved a H1 in Leaving Cert higher level chemistry, tells us how he got top marks.

Make good notes

Organised and concise notes are essential. Throughout the year, I continuously summarised the most relevant material (key concepts, diagrams etc.) into my own set of handwritten notes, which I kept in a special folder. I found that even writing the notes was a great form of study and reading the information in my own handwriting made it that bit easier to learn.

Practice with past papers

Answering exam questions and then reviewing and marking your response with the marking scheme can be a real eye-opener. It helps you to grasp the level of detail required and see into the “mindset of the examiner”. I noted the most common questions and transferred the corresponding answers from the marking scheme into my notes.

Know your definitions

Learn your definitions off by heart. I filled a copybook with them all and it proved to be a very useful tool in my study. I also made sure my definitions matched those in the marking scheme.

Believe in yourself!

On exam day be prepared for some unusual questions that you have never seen before. Stay relaxed and believe in yourself!

Reaction to 2023 Chemistry Exam

Each year, our exceptional teachers give their take on the Leaving Certificate higher level exam papers.

See what Tara Lyons, chemistry teacher at The Institute of Education, had to say about the 2023 paper in this short video.

To view reactions to previous year’s chemistry exam papers please browse videos below or visit our YouTube channel.

Sample Notes

Students who attend The Institute of Education are provided with exclusive, exam-focussed study notes to support their home study and revision. Below are a sample of the high-quality chemistry notes they receive.

“Be very careful with your use of language and know your definitions.”

Our expert teachers have been working with Leaving Certificate students for many years and have a deep understanding of the exam papers.

In this short video, chemistry teacher Tara Lyons, explains why an accurate use of language is essential if students want to achieve top marks in the exam.

Top Tips

Tara Lyons, chemistry teacher at The Institute of Education, shares her secrets to success in the exam.

Know your experiments!
Detailed descriptions of procedures and diagrams involved are always asked. Practice the type of calculation that has come up in past questions.

Learn definitions ‘off by heart’
Leaving out or changing a word can alter the definition completely, leading to loss of or no marks awarded.

Answer the question
Ensure that you answer exactly what has been asked i.e. if asked for a ‘name’ of a substance/reagent, do not give the formula and vice versa.

Label graphs 
When drawing graphs ensure that both axes are labelled and given the appropriate labels and units.

Mandatory Experiments
Review the mandatory experiments paying particular attention to any procedures followed.

Short Questions 
If you are considering doing the short question (Question 4), review past papers. Practice and precision is required for this question.

Question 5
This question deals with Atomic Theory, so revise questions on Bonding, Ionisation and Bohr’s Theory as these regularly appear in this section.

“An organic chemistry experiment is guaranteed on the paper every year.”

Driven by a passion for their subject and a desire to share knowledge, our teachers are meticulous in their exam preparations.

In this short video from 2019, chemistry teacher Tara Lyons discusses the organic chemistry experiments and how to approach them in your revision.

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