Physics (H): A thorough but fair higher level paper

Reaction to Leaving Certificate 2021 Physics (Higher Level) by Pat Doyle, physics teacher at The Institute of Education.

A very thorough but fair higher level paper.

Rather than combining topics within questions, the vast majority of questions were based on just one topic from the syllabus.  This was very fair given the fact that some students may not have completed the entire course.

The questions were searching and students would need to have known their course material very well.

Changes made to the exam this year meant that students had plenty of choice.

It was very nice to see a number of questions that linked physics to the real world. Question 9 for example was about the physics of a cooler box, question 14 referenced the use of a ball lens in photography and part B of question 13 referenced the start of the information age, radios and mobile phones.


Due to changes this year students only had to answer two out of five questions here. Normally they answer three out of four.

There was fabulous choice here, and a lot of repetition from past papers meant that hard working students would have been rewarded.


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

Again, there was excellent choice in this section.

Question 7, the mechanics question, was quite challenging, and students who do applied maths would have had a definite advantage. There was enough choice however for other students to look elsewhere within this section for a question that suited them.

Question 11 was nice and referred to the history of nuclear physics and the development of nuclear weapons.