Junior Cycle maths: Significantly easier than previous years

Teachers differ over whether exam was too ‘wordy’

Students faced a straightforward higher level maths paper, say teachers. Photograph: iStock

Students faced a straightforward higher level maths paper, say teachers. Photograph: iStock


Students were tested on their deep understanding of mathematical concepts in this year’s higher level junior cert maths paper, teachers have said.

Eamonn Toland, founder of TheMathsTutor.ie, said that it was accessible overall, but many questions were “wordy” and required “stamina and concentration from higher level students.

“Interpretive, literacy and analytical skills should be highly rewarded in this paper. Real-world scenarios included a 5k race, an exercise program and personal finance.

"There was a heavy emphasis on sets, graphs, factors and sequences, as well as the usual algebra and numerical skills. Question 1(c) was a very wordy question on ratios that needed careful interpretation.”

It was a long paper with 24 pages of questions, and students will be relieved to have Paper 1 completed, he said.

Sean Donnelly, maths teacher with Studyclix.ie, said that, in keeping with the goals of Project Maths, it was not good enough to just be able to work through questions they had seen before.

“They had to adapt their mathematical knowledge to solve problems they would never have come across before. Similar to previous years the higher paper transitioned from easier questions early on to much more challenging questions toward the end of the paper.

“Many students would have struggled with question 14 that asked them manipulate the first three terms of a sequence into a linear sequence.”

Mr Toland said that the ordinary level maths paper was challenging for students.

“Paper one contained plenty of wordy questions, and lots of diagrams to interpret and analyse, with very few questions comprised of “straight-up” calculations or algebraic manipulations.

Scenarios included lotteries, concert tickets and comparing the weight of an elephant with the weight of a mouse. Question five was a linear equation involving a fraction, which made it challenging for this level.”

Try this at home:
- Junior Cert maths paper one

Gertie writes down the following sequence, which repeats every three terms: 3, 6, 4, 3, 6, 4, 3, ... The 1st term is 3.

(a) (i) Write down the value of the 12th term.

(ii) Work out the value of the 100th term in this sequence