Junior Cert Maths paper 1: Wordy questions with some testing scenarios

Mixed response to higher level paper which featured ‘a lot of lead in to questions’


The Junior Certificate higher-level maths paper 1 differed somewhat from previous years with in-depth explanations and questions based on multiple ‘real-world’ scenarios that featured throughout the exam.

Eamonn Toland, founder of TheMathsTutor.ie said the exam was “a challenging paper with many wordy questions and some testing scenarios for Higher level students.

“Interpretive, literacy and analytical skills should be highly rewarded in this paper,” he said.

Students were challenged with several real-life scenarios in the two-and-a-half hour paper.

“Topics included folding sheets, washing cars, running sprints and monetising YouTube videos - some very active real-world scenarios,” said Mr Toland.

“The opening question on quadratic patterns could have been quite testing for some,” he said.

Elaine Devlin, a teacher at De La Salle Secondary School in Dundalk, said the explanations that accompanied some of the questions was “a great help” to students.

“There was a lot of lead-in to questions when previously the lead-in would not have been there,” she said.

In Question 11, Ms Devlin said students were asked to write their answers into four boxes with the first one completed for them. “That was a great help,” she said. “And unusual, at higher level Junior Cert, that it would be so led. I wouldn’t have expected that - I would have expected a more challenging section there.”

Ms Devlin said the only question that posed any difficulty to the students she spoke with was Question 14 - but the fact that it was the final question on the paper was of help.

“The only question that caused them any degree of trouble seemed to be Question 14, the final question in the paper, which in itself is a good thing because early trouble can put you off.

“The fact it was the last question gave students plenty of time to focus on it. It was a nice question but it was a different format to what they would have been accustomed to.”

None of the students she spoke with after the exam felt anxious afterwards, she said adding: “If paper one doesn’t go well, it leaves a horrible weekend (ahead)”. “The questions were every well structured. It shouldn’t have posed much difficulty. The students I spoke to in De La Salle college in Dundalk all seemed happy,” she added .

Ms Devlin said the ordinary level paper was “nicely constructed”.

“There was a lot of help with the calculator and if they were good with a calculator they would have got through a good bit of this. Question 4 (part d), I’m sure, was quite confusing. It was a pattern question and they wouldn’t have seen anything like it.”

Try this at home:

Leaving Cert,

Mathematics higher level paper 1.

Patrick worked for a weekend washing cars in a garage.

(a) In total, 35 cars were washed in the garage that weekend. Patrick washed 14 of them. Work out the percentage of the cars that Patrick washed.

(b) Patrick was paid £200 Sterling for the weekend. He converted this money to US Dollars ($).

The exchange rates are shown below.

€1 = £0·88 Sterling

€1 = $1·18 US Dollars

Work out how many US Dollars ($) Patrick got for his £200 Sterling.

Give your answer correct to the nearest cent