LEAVING Cert applied maths pupils faced a rare and difficult challenge in the higher-level paper.
Teacher Adrian Roantree, of the Institute of Education in Dublin, said it had been a very mixed paper with some approachable questions but some very testing and challenging ones.
Questions one to four and seven and eight would have been welcomed by any pupils who had studied recent papers. They were generally in line with expectations and were no harder than previous years.
However, the first part of question five and all of question six were "very challenging", he said, and would have presented many pupils with difficulties.
Question six normally covers the topics of circular motion and simple harmonic motion. However, this year, the question also included hydrostatics – a topic normally covered in question nine.
"A crossover of question topics like this is extremely rare and the vast majority of pupils would have found this question undoable," said Mr Roantree.
But teacher Christy Maginn, of St Declan's College in Cabra, Dublin, described the higher-level paper as fair, saying it did not deflect from the well-designed format which allows a student to make a mistake and yet continue on with the question.
He said he was encouraged by the paper, adding that there was a lot of reading in it and that every single word meant something.
Most applied maths pupils sit the higher-level paper – 1,200 in total this year, against less than 100 ordinary-level pupils.
Mr Maginn added that the ordinary-level paper was well designed with good, clear diagrams helping pupils to visualise the written question.
And while the way the questions were worded did not quite take pupils "by the hand", it certainly "pointed them in the right direction", he said.