By Katrina Davitt, Yeats College PhysChem Teacher
A fair paper that followed the layout of previous years and held no big surprises. Students who were well prepared and had spent time practising previous exam questions would have been happy and with the choices available on both sides of the paper and with the phrasing of questions.
The Physics short questions had a nice mixture of topics from the course including several definitions and straight forward calculations. If a student had not spent much time studying Lightwave’s they may have been limited in this question
Question 2, mechanics, was well laid out with a nice mixture of theory, definitions, and calculations. The inclusion of a graph here would have been welcomed by many students.
Questions 3 heat and question 4 light followed the same layout as previous years. The questions asked were straight forward and easy to follow, apart from the parts based on the constant volume gas thermometer which may have thrown a few students. However, those that took the time to read the question carefully and think it through would have been happy in the end.
Question 5 electricity held the familiar questions based on conductors and Ohm’s law, with nice calculations for the prepared student.
Question 6 mixed. Students would have been relieved to see a lovely choice in this question, including radioactivity positioned where it normally is. Light waves, Coulomb’s law and gravity here as well would have ensured the two questions required here could be answered well.
The Chemistry short questions contained a nice mixture of topics from the course, some of which were worded in a slightly different way but if definitions had been learnt well beforehand this would not have been an issue.
Question 8, atomic theory would also test students’ definitions and their ability to plot a graph. They would have to have a good knowledge of electronegativity values and trends.
Question 9 was based on a vinegar acid base titration with definitions, equipment and indicators making up most of the question. A balanced equation was given which would have helped the weaker student in the calculation. The only part that could have been a problem would have been the dilution calculation, this would have separated out the higher-level students.
Question 10 electrolysis and 11 organic, were in their usual positions on the paper. Electrolysis was a complex question that included oxidation-reduction, electrolysis theory and calculations and also gas laws. The organic question included a scheme for students to follow which would have required a detailed knowledge of the organic families to be able to answer well.
Question 12 contained the usual options including a straightforward mole concept and Hess’s law calculation. A nice atomic theory question based on shapes and an acid-base question. Students who were counting on this question would have been very happy with the choices available and should have been able to answer the required three out of four here.
Well done to all Physchem students this year. This exam gave you the opportunity to show your knowledge and hard-working students were well rewarded with a well-structured exam with plenty of choice.