Leaving Cert Maths paper 1: Trigonometry makes unexpected appearance

Question on financial maths caused difficulty for some students, but paper pleased others

Straightforward Leaving Cert maths papers will have pleased those who prepared the key topics.

Aidan Roantree, a Maths teacher at the Institute of Education, said the higher level Maths paper was straightforward, with one or two unexpected questions that students may have found challenging.

Trigonometry made an appearance in question nine of the Maths paper, a topic which most students would have expected to appear in paper two on Monday. Mr Roantree said the question “will have thrown many students”.

“Although a straightforward question, some students may not have prepared for this yet, as this topic would have been expected on Monday’s paper two,” he said.

“Overall, there will be a mixed reaction to this paper. Some of the questions, especially in section B were quite challenging” Mr Roantree said.

A question on financial maths appeared as expected in section B of the paper, which most students would have prepared well for after the large topic was left out of last year’s higher level exam entirely.

However, some students may have been confused at the way the financial maths question was presented, according to Robert Chaney, a teacher in CBS secondary school in Thurles, Tipperary.

“There was some issues with the labelling of a table in the question. I think some students had difficulty in understanding it due to how it was presented. The maths itself was fine. It was just the presentation of a table in the question that some students seemed to have problems with” he said.

One higher level student, Clodagh Sweeney from Jesus and Mary secondary school, Enniscrone, Sligo said she “found the paper quite challenging”.

“Part of the financial maths seemed like a tough introduction to that question” she said.

“Overall it was a very fair exam, with a lot of reliable questions coming up. So students who had done their basic revision would have found no problems” Mr Chaney said.

Eamonn Toland, founder of TheMathsTutor.ie, echoed the other teachers assessments of the higher level exam.

“The paper was mostly straightforward although there are a few testing elements. Overall a reasonable paper with a few interesting twists for the high fliers to show off” he said.

Ordinary level

The ordinary level Maths paper 1 also seemed to go according to plan for most students. Practical questions on the paper included asking students to model the profits of a business, and a question based on a forensic science example.

Jean Kelly, a Maths teacher in the Dublin Institute of Education said “students will be really pleased with this paper”.

“There were no ambiguities and the questions were nice and clear and to the point. Algebra featured heavily on the paper in comparison to previous years. The dreaded calculus was barely asked, which students will be delighted with” Ms Kelly said.

"Well prepared students should have had no difficulty" on what was a straightforward ordinary level Maths paper 1, Mr Toland of TheMathsTutor.ie said.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is a reporter with The Irish Times