Leaving Certificate Physics aims to give students an understanding of the fundamental principles of physics and their application to everyday life.

It offers a general education in physics to all students, enabling them to develop an understanding of the scientific method and their ability to observe, to think logically and to communicate effectively.

Science technology and society (STS) is an integral part of the syllabus so that students can be aware of the principles of the applications of physics in the everyday world. 

Physics Syllabus

This syllabus is assessed at Higher and Ordinary levels.  Leaving certificate  physics is broken into eight topics;

(a) six compulsory
(b)one of two option sections 

Compulsory sections are:

  1. Mechanics: the study of movement. 
  2. Waves: the study of light and sound as waves.
  3. Heat and temperature
  4. Electricity
  5. Electricity and Magnetism: the study of motors and generators
  6. Atomic Physics: the study of the electron and the nucleus.

Two optional sections are:

  1. Particle Physics: the study of the building blocks of matter, their creation and the fundamental forces.
  2. Applied Electricity: a more detailed study of electricity.

The two option sections are omitted from the ordinary level course. The course also consists of 24 core mandatory experiments.

Exam structure

Leaving Certificate Physics is assessed by means of one terminal examination paper at each level.  Students are required to keep a record of their practical work over the two years of the course.  The Leaving Cert physics exam is three hours in duration.

Good site for notes and exam questions

School site for class presentations and links

Site for definitions