Junior Cert Science helpful information:

General Information


We come across science in everyday things in the world around us, both living and non-living. Studying Science in school can help you to understand the importance of science in our lives and in the environment.

What will I learn in Science?

The Science course covers the three sciences:
Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

Biology is the science of living things.

You will learn about:

  • plants and animals including humans
  • the environment and how to care for it.

Chemistry deals with the composition of substances and their properties.

You will learn about:

  • the materials that make up the world around us
  • how materials can change and be changed.

Physics is the science of matter and energy and how they interact.

You will learn about:

  • forces and energy
  • how things work.

How will I learn Science in school?

Some of the things you may do with your teacher and classmates are:

  • work as part of a group
  • go on field trips • use computer-based resources
  • carry out experiments and investigations
  • try your best at homework and assignments.

How can I learn more about Science outside of school?

Some of the things you may do are:

  • watch science programmes on television
  • keep up to date with the science stories in the news
  • use the Internet,which is a huge source of science explanations and experiments.Ask your teacher for a list of websites.

How will I know how I am getting on?

As you progress in Science you will learn to work like a scientist.You will learn how to plan and carry out experiments and investigations and make sense of the results. As you do your coursework you will be able to see how you are getting on by looking back at earlier experiments and investigations. Your teacher will also tell you how your skills have improved.

What is the Science Junior Certificate exam like?

In Junior Certificate Science you will be examined in two ways:

  • coursework - during the three years of the Junior Certificate you report on the investigations that you carry out in class. These reports count for 35% of your Junior Certificate marks
  • written examination - you will answer questions on the science topics that you have studied and on the skills (e.g.science investigation skills) that you have developed.

You can take the exam at Higher or at Ordinary level. When the time comes to decide, your teacher will help you choose the level that suits you best.

Is learning Science anything like what I did in primary school?

In primary school you learned about living things, energy and forces, materials, and about care for the environment. You also explored the world around you and learned to work like a scientist. In Junior Certificate Science you will use and develop these science skills.

Will Science have anything to do with other subjects I will be studying?

Science links with many of the other subjects you will be studying.You will use some of the things you learn in Mathematics to analyse and interpret the results of your investigations. In Geography you will study about the environment and soil. In Home Economics you will study about food and the human body.

How will Science be usefulto me?

Many of the skills you learn while studying science such as problem solving and investigation skills are very useful outside of school and will be of use to you in whatever job you choose to do.

In third level there are many different types of science courses on offer and many different careers open to science students.

These include becoming a: pharmacist, radiographer, doctor, dentist, technician, psychologist, astronomer,teacher, vet and researcher.

Will Science be very different after Junior Certificate?

After the Junior Certificate, Science splits into four subjects: Physics,Chemistry, Biology and Agricultural Science. Depending on your school, you can choose to do different combinations of these. If you would like to choose any of these subjects in Leaving Certificate, it is important that you take Science as a subject for Junior Certificate.

[Information sourced from ncca.ie]

Science Course

The science course is divided into three segments.

  1. Coursework A - This is carried out in school    (10%)
  2. Coursework B  This is where there are a number of investigations carried out in third year          (25%)
  3. Coursework C  A written examination taken at the end of third year  (65%)

Examination paper

There are three sections in the exam paper and you have two hours to answer all questions on the paper.  The topics covered are as follows:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

There are a total of nine questions on the paper .

  • Biology  is covered in Questions 1, 2 and 3
  • Chemistry is covered in Questions 4, 5 and 6
  • Physics is covered in Questions 7, 8 and 9

Questions 1, 4 and 7 are all questions with 8 short questions.  The remainder of the questions are long and require a detailed answer.

The topics covered in the course include the following:

Mocks.ie science revision notes cover all of these topics too!! Why not test yourself with our revision tool on the exam questions and the course material?


  • Food
  • Digestion and enzymes
  • Respiration and the breathing system
  • The circulatory system
  • Excretion
  • The skeletal and muscular systems
  • The sensory system
  • The reproductive system
  • Genetics
  • Living things
  • The microscope
  • Structure and transport in flowering plants
  • Photosynthesis and plant responses
  • Plant reproduction
  • Ecology
  • Microbiology and Biotechnology

 See biology definitions below


  • Separating mixtures
  • States of matter
  • Classification of substances
  • Atomic structure
  • The periodic Table
  • Metals and Non – metals
  • Chemical bonding
  • Acids and Bases
  • Chemical Reactions
  • The atmosphere
  • Water
  • Solutions and crystallisation
  • Hard and Soft water
  • Fossil fuel
  • Plastics

 See chemistry definitions below


  • Measurement
  • Density and floatation
  • Motion: Speed, velocity and acceleration
  • Force and Motion
  • Levers and turning effect of a force
  • Pressure
  • Work, Energy and Power
  • Heat and Heat transfer
  • Light
  • Sound
  • Magnetism
  • Static and Current Electricity
  • Effects of electricity in the home
  • Electronics.


Download Past State Exam Papers
Download Past State Exam Papers by Topic

Science Definitions


  • Digestion is the breaking down of food
  • Respiration is the release of energy from food
  • Excretion is the removal of waste products of chemical reactions in the body
  • An antagonistic pair is made up of two muscles that cause opposite effects
  • Sensory nerves carry messages to the central nervous system. Motor nerves carry messages away from the central nervous system.
  • Ovulation is the release of an egg from the ovary.
  • Fertilisation is the joining of the sperm and the egg to form a zygote.
  • Implantation is the attachment of the embryo to the lining of the uterus
  • Pregnancy is the time the baby spends developing in the uterus
  • Contraception is the prevention of fertilisation
  • Genetics is the study of how traits or characteristics are inherited
  • A gene is a section of DNA that can produce a protein.
  • Invertebrates are animals that do not have backbones
  • Vertebrates are animals that have backbones
  • Transpiration is the loss of water from a plant
  • The transpiration stream is a flow of water from the roots up through the stem and out of the leaves of a plant
  • Photosynthesis is the way in which green plants make food.
  • A tropism is the change in growth of a plant in response to an outside stimulus.
  • Phototropism is the way a plant changes its growth response to light.
  • Geotropism is the way in which a plant changes its growth in response to gravity.
  • Sexual reproduction involves two sex cells joining together during fertilisation.
  • A gamete is a sex cell
  • Asexual reproduction means that new individuals are formed from only one parent.
  • Pollination is the transfer of pollen from a stamen to a carpel.
  • Fertilisation is the joining of the male and female gametes to form a zygote.
  • Dispersal is the carrying of the seed as far as possible from the parent plant
  • Germination is the growth of a seed to form a new plant.
  • Ecology is the study of the relationships between plants, animals and their environments.
  • A habitat is where a plant or animal lives.
  • A population refers to all members of that particulars type of a plant or animal living in a habitat.
  • A community refers to all the plants and animals in that habitat
  • Producers are plants that make their own food.
  • Consumers are animals that get their food by eating plants or other animals
  • A food chain is a list of living things in which each one is eaten by the next one in the chain.
  • Adaptations are structures of habits that living things have which enable them to survive in their habitats.
  • Competition occurs when two of more organisms require something that is in short supply.
  • Interdependence means that living things depend on each other for survival.
  • A line transect is a rope marked at regular intervals and laid out across a habitat to estimate the number of plants present.
  • Conservation is the protection and wise management of our natural resources.
  • Pollution is any unwanted change to our environment.
  • Micro-organisms are small living things
  • A parasite is a living thing that gets its food from another living thing.
  • A saprophyte is a living thing that gets its food from dead sources.
  • Antibiotics are chemicals made by micro – organisms that kill or prevent the growth of bacteria.
  • Biotechnology is the use of living things or parts of living things to make useful products.


  • A mixture is made up of two or more substances mingled together but not chemically combined.
  • Elements are substances made up of only one type of atom.
  • Molecules are made up of two atoms chemically combined.
  • Compounds are made up of two or more elements chemically combined
  • Mixtures contains two or more different substances mingled together but not chemically combined.
  • Atomic number is the number of protons (or electrons) in an atom of an element.
  • Mass number is the number of protons and neutrons in an atom of an element.
  • Isotopes are atoms of the same element which have the same atomic number but different mass numbers.
  • An alloy is a mixture of metals
  • Corrosion is an undesirable process whereby a metal changes to its oxide or some other compound by combining with oxygen in air.
  • An ion is an atom which has lost or gained electrons.
  • An ionic bond is the electrical force of attraction between positive and negative ions.
  • A covalent bond consists of a pair of electrons shared between two atoms.
  • A physical change is a change in which no new substance is formed.
  • A chemical change is a change in which at least one new substance is formed.
  • A fuel is a substance that burns in oxygen to produce heat.
  • Catalysts are substances which alter the rate of a chemical reaction but are not used up themselves.
  • Electrolysis is the splitting up of a compound by passing electricity through it.
  • A solution is a mixture of a solute and a solvent.
  • A saturated solution is a solution that contains as much dissolved solute as possible at that given temperature.
  • Crystallisation is the formation of crystals by the cooling of a saturated solution.
  • Fuels are substances which burn in oxygen to produce heat energy.
  • Hydrocarbons are compounds made up of hydrogen and carbon.
  • Polymerisation is the process involving the joining together of many small molecules called monomers to form a large molecule called a polymer.


  • Length is the straight line distance between two points in space.
  • Mass is the quantity of matter in a body
  • Time is the quantity in which change happens.
  • Temperature is a measure of how hot or cold a body is.
  • Area is the amount of surface that covers a body.
  • Volume is the amount of space taken up by a body.
  • Area = length x width
  • Volume = length x width x height.
  • The density of a body is the mass of one unit of volume of a body.
  • Density = (mass / volume)
  • Speed is the distance travelled by an object in a unit of time
  • Velocity is the speed of a body and the direction in which it is moving.
  • Acceleration is the change in velocity in a unit of time.
  • Speed = distance / time.
  • Acceleration = change in velocity / time taken for the change.
  • A force gives a body at rest a velocity or makes a moving body change its velocity.
  • A force causes a mass to accelerate.
  • A change in velocity can be a change in speed or a change in direction or both.
  • Friction is a force that opposes the motion of a body when it is in contact with another
  • Lubrication is when a material is placed between surfaces of two moving bodies in contact, to reduce friction.
  • The weight of a body on the surface of the moon is the attraction between the moon and the body and this is different from the force on the earth.
  • The centre of gravity of a body is a point about which the turning effects caused by gravity are balanced. The weight of the body seems to be concentrated at this point.
  • A body is in equilibrium if its centre of gravity is not moving and the body is not turning about any point
  • A lever is a rigid body that can rotate about a fulcrum.
  • The turning effect of a force is called the moment of a force.
  • The law of the lever states that when a lever is balanced, the sum of the clockwise moments equals the sum of the anticlockwise moments.
  • Pressure is the amount of force acting on a unit area.
  • Work done = Force x distance moved in the direction of the force
  • Energy is the ability to do work
  • Power is the amount of work done in a unit of time.
  • Energy is neither created nor destroyed but can be converted from one form to another.
  • Heat is a form of energy
  • Temperature is a measure of the relative hotness or coldness of a body.
  • Increase in pressure raised the boiling point of water.
  • The heat that is needed to change the state of a substance is called latent heat.
  • Conduction is the transfer of heat through a substance without any overall movement of the substance itself.
  • Convection is the transfer of heat through liquids and gases by the mass movement of particles.
  • Radiation is the transfer of heat by means of waves that can travel through a vacuum. This is how the heat energy of the sun gets to the Earth.
  • Light is a form of energy because it is a wave and waves carry energy.
  • A luminous body creates its own light.
  • Non – luminous bodies reflect light.
  • The breaking up of white light into its different colours is called dispersion.
  • The spectrum of light is made up of seven major colours. Red orange yellow green blue indigo and violet.
  • Refraction is the bending of light as it passes from one transparent material to another.
  • Sound is a form of energy and is produced when bodies vibrate.
  • Sound needs a medium to be transmitted.
  • The speed of sound is much less than the speed of light.
  • A force something that changes the motion of a body.
  • A magnetic field is the region of space around a magnet in which certain materials and other magnets will experience a magnetic force.
  • A compass is a small magnet or a magnetised needle that is free to move in a protective case.
  • Charge exerts force on another charge.
  • Voltage = Resistance x Current or V = RI
  • Direct current is the flow of charge in only one direction around a circuit.
  • Alternating current is current that constantly changes direction.
  • A kilowatt – hour is the amount of energy provided when 1 kilowatt of power is used for one hour.
  • Cost = power rating in kW x unit cost x time in hours.
  • Electronics is the controlling of devices by directing small amounts of current around circuits.
Free Notes
Free Sample Answers
Exam Breakdown

Past Exam Breakdown Higher Level

Science Higher Level
Grand Total Paper (390)
Coursework A (60)
Coursework B (150)
Grand Total (600)
Section/Question Mark- Duration 2 hours 30 minutes
Biology   2009 2008 2007 2006 2005
Q.1 (52) Short Questions Short Questions Short Questions Short Questions Short Questions Short Questions
Q.2 (39) a-Digestive system -b -carbs/fats and proteins a- Human skeleton /  b- respiration a- urinary system /  b- enzymes a- germination/  b- digestive system a- respiration/ b- blood/ c- pulse rate a- Human skeleton /  b- respiration
Q.3 (39) a-Plant Photosynthesis -b- Plants reproduction Ecology a-female reproductive system/ b- ecology a-energy/ b- photosynthesis/c-deforestation a-food /b -microscope/cells
Q.4 (52) Short Questions Short Questions Short Questions Short Questions Short Questions Short Questions
Q.5 (39) a-solubility Copper Sulphate -b- pH Scale a-catalyst / b- water hardness/ c-distillation a-solubility / b- periodic table/ c-distillation a-solutions / b- elements compounds a-acids/bases b-plastics/ c-chromotography/d-particles of gas/solid
Q.6 (39) a-Sulphuric acid -b- metal reactions a-Bonding/b-ions/c-alloys a-Bonding/b-pH scale a-CO2 b- water hardness a-composition of air/b-periodic table/c-corrosion
Q.7 (52) Short Questions Short Questions Short Questions Short Questions Short Questions Short Questions
Q.8 (39) a- string extension -b- expansion and contraction of a gas a-density/b-LDR resistors/c-Potential difference a-electric charge/c and c-light  a- magnetism b-energy conversion c- moment of force a-mirrors b-heat c- fossil fuels energy
Q.9 (39) a-renewable energy photo cells -b- reflection of light -c- magnetism a-pressure boiling points/b-solar panels/c-velocity a-lauric acid/b-energy a- light b- circuits c-sound a-hookes law/ b-light/c-bulbs


Past Exam Breakdown Ordinary Level

Science Ordinary Level
Grand Total Paper (390)
Coursework A (60)
Coursework B (150)
Grand Total (600)
Section/Question Mark- Duration 2 hours 30 minutes  
Biology 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
Q.1 (52) Short Questions Short Questions Short Questions Short Questions Short Questions
Q.2 (39) a-flower- b- habitat -c- Plants food a- teeth /  b- digestion/c-diet/d-starch photosynthesis a- organs/  b- eye/c-experiment reducing sugar a-organs/  b- digestive system/c-limescale a- respiration/ b- blood/ c- digestive system
Q.3 (39) a-blood-b-respiration-c-pulse rate a-excretion/ b-skeleton/c-heart a-microscope/ b- ecology/c-plants food from sunlight/d transpiration a-starch in plants/ b- germination/c-phototropism a-plants /b -germination/c-ecology
Q.4 (52) Short Questions Short Questions Short Questions Short Questions Short Questions
Q.5 (39) a-hydrochloric acid-b-preparation of oxygen -c-copper sulphate a-separation techniques/ b-electrolysis a-atoms / b- water hardness/ c-hydrochloric acid a-separation techniques / b- carbon dioxide  a-separation techniques b-bonds/ c-electrolysis/d-hydrochloric acid
Q.6 (39) a-water two elements- b- hardness of water -c- treatment of water -d- pH   a-particles/b-solubility a-fossil fuels/b-solutions/c-separation technique a-atomic structure bonds b- fossil fuels/ c-acidic base neutral a-acid and bases/b-glowing splint/c-copper sulphate
Q.7 (52) Short Questions Short Questions Short Questions Short Questions Short Questions
Q.8 (39) a- energy conversions-b- heating of metals -c- light experiment -d- reflection a-force and a string/b-sound travels in a medium/c-safety devices a-circuit/b-plug/c-magnetic field a- heat transfer /b-expansion metals/c- heat on gases/d-sound travel a-plug/ b-electricity/ c- circuit/ d-LED
Q.9 (39) a-Voltage current -b- LEDs a-volume/b-pressure/c-electric kettle/c-metal expands a-energy conversion bulb/b-fulcrum/c-speed distance a- circuit b- voltage c-electricity/d-light travels a-force/b-extension of a spring/c-energy conversion


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