Saturday 22 October 2016

Leaving Cert Maths Paper Two: An exam 'filled with surprises'

Published 13/06/2016 | 13:03

Leaving Cert 2016
Leaving Cert 2016

Like last year, the Leaving Certificate Maths Higher Level Paper 2 proved tougher than Paper 1, some teachers agreed.

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But Aidan Roantree of The Institute of Education, Dublin, thought students would be reasonably happy.

“By and large there was enough for students to obtain a pass mark. However, more so than on Paper 1, there were also question parts that would have allowed the very best students to show their abilities," he said.

Mr Roantree expressed surprise that the difficulty lay mainly in Section A, rather than in the traditionally more daunting Section B.

In particular, he said, Question 2 (B) on coordinate geometry was among the most challenging in recent years.

He also pointed to Question 3 (A) which  referred to ‘cotan’, a concept wit which most students would not be familiar , although it is defined on page 13 of the maths tables.

He noted the change in the number of questions and the amount of marks from probability & statistics to geometry, co-ordinate geometry & trigonometry, with more marks for trigonometry (125) than for probability and statistics combined (100).

Eamonn Toland, of also said the paper was more difficult than Friday’s and “ had more surprises for the students”.

He described it as “very much a paper in the spirit of Project Maths with challenging questions that involved elements from several different parts of the course, including topics that would be expected to appear on paper 1 instead.”

He said it was highly unusual to see  Question 8, based on functions and calculus,   on Paper 2 instead of Paper 1.  However, this demonstrates that some topics can appear on either or both papers.

Mr Toland said Question 9 on inferential statistics, from a part of the course that has “created a lot of confusion among teachers and students” was mostly straightforward and doable. 

He said  part (c) might have been challenging “as students would have to know something about the central limit theorem, all the other parts were very accessible.”

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