Overall, solid and steady!
For the third year running, 2.5% of all exams sat across both levels of Leaving Certificate were in chemistry. In absolute numbers, this represents a 4% increase from 2018’s cohort due to more students overall, across all subjects, and follows a decade-long slight upward trend in uptake of chemistry.
|Total number of students
|% of all students taking chemistry
|Total number of exams sat (all subjects)
|% of exams that were chemistry
|Number of chemistry Higher exams sat
|Number of chemistry Ordinary exams sat
Additionally, 4% more students studied the combined Chemistry & Physics subject compared to last year. However, compared to single subjects, numbers for the combined discipline were low – with only 538 students in total.
When looking into the differences between Higher and Ordinary Levels, 87% of the 9,506 chemistry students entered for Higher – once again, the same proportion as last year. This means that a slight shift seen following the change in grading structure in 2017 has remained consistent; in the years preceding 2017 the proportion entered for Higher level was around 84%.
In terms of performance, this year sees a slight increase in performance at the higher end of the grading structure, with 2 percentage points more students receiving the top grade of 1 in chemistry.
"It’s great to see students performing well in chemistry," said Danièle Gibney, interim education policy manager at the Royal Society of Chemistry. "However, it would be good to see some increase in the subject’s popularity. While 17% of students take chemistry, 61% take biology – so there is room for growth. Chemistry is a very broad, facilitating subject. It opens doors to rewarding careers to tackle the world’s most pressing problems, and is worth considering for any student."
Danièle added: "This is an exciting time in the Irish education system. At the RSC we’re keeping a keen eye on the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment’s review of Senior Cycle education, and are considering our response to the consultation. Simultaneously, we are seeking to provide input to the curriculum development for Leaving Certificate chemistry."
Advice for students
If you need any help or guidance on the results and CAO offers process, The Irish Times is running an online helpdesk staffed by a team of qualified guidance counsellors. It will be operating until Saturday 17th August, and can be accessed here.
If you feel a specific grade in one or more subjects falls below your expectations, you can apply to view that script on the new Leaving Cert sSelf-sService pPortal. The application to appeal results will be available from 5:00pm on Friday 16th August, and closes at 5:00pm on Thursday 22nd August. The SEC will then make the appealed scripts available to examiners for remarking.