Physics (H): A challenging and clever paper

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Reaction to Leaving Certificate 2022 Physics (Higher Level) by Pat Doyle, physics teacher at The Institute of Education.

A challenging and clever paper that was designed to separate out the H1 and H2 students.

Students who had worked hard and covered the entire course in their revision will be rewarded.

Despite the extra choice on the paper, some questions contained a mixture of topics, which might have limited students who had not covered the entire syllabus in their revision.

Ques 5, 11, 13 and 14b, all contained a mixture of topics. If students had not covered the entire course, they could have found themselves seriously limited for choice.

SECTION A – Experiments

Like last year, students only had to answer two out of five questions here. Normally they answer three out of four.

There was wonderful choice in this section, but each question had one clever little part to it. Students who had worked hard and revised with past papers will tend to do quite well here.

SECTION B – Long Questions

Like last year, students had to answer four out of nine questions here. Normally they answer five from eight.

Question 7 would have been very nice for any student doing applied maths.

Question 8 on semi-conductors was a nice question, but it is a topic that many students shy away from.

Question 9 on electricity and question 10 on radioactivity were both accessible questions. Radioactivity is one of the last topics on the course however, and some students may not have covered it.

Question 11 was a mixture of three different topics- heat, sound and radioactivity. While it was an easy question, it could have caused problems for students who had left out parts of the course in their revision.

There was a small typo in question 12a, which was about two scientists, Walton and Cockcroft (Walton is the only Irish person to win a Nobel Prize for Physics). In the question, they said that protons were accelerated through a potential difference of 70kV. In actual fact it was 700kV. Despite the introduction being flawed, students would still have been able to complete the question (and a really good student might have spotted the mistake!).

Question 13 was again a mixture of two topics- light and mechanics. The question was nice enough though.

More thought perhaps could have been put into the wording of question 14b. From looking at the photo, the toy could collide with the tower, which would impact on what would happen in the question. The idea behind the question was clever however.