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Leaving Cert Maths Higher Level Paper 2 ‘tricky in parts’

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Students prepare for their leaving cert exams. PA

Students prepare for their leaving cert exams. PA

Students prepare for their leaving cert exams. PA

Leaving Cert Maths Higher Level Paper 2 candidates faced some challenges, according to teachers, although they did not necessarily agree on the pressure points.

Eamonn Toland of themathstutor.ie thought that “overall” it was a more difficult paper than Paper 1 and students would have been glad to have choice in questions “as there were some that were quite tricky”.

Aidan Roantree, senior maths teacher at the Institute of Education, Dublin, agreed that there were “some tricky bits”, but overall, he thought it “very fair and reasonable”.

This year, students only had to do four out of six questions in Section A and two out of four questions in Section B, and Mr Roantree noted they could have avoided statistics and probability.

Mr Toland said that there was “a lot of emphasis on certain topics – for example Bernoulli trials and trigonometry - and nothing at all on other potential topics, such as financial maths.

“Financial maths has once again failed to feature in Paper 1 or Paper 2, which many teachers and students will find disappointing,” he said.

He regarded Section A as particularly challenging and said the probability Q1 about picking players for a soccer team may have confused some students.

Mr Roantree described Section A as having typical mix of questions and he thought the most popular would have been questions 2,3, 4 and 6.
He said Q2, on coordinate geometry of the line, had a final challenging part, but was otherwise a “very manageable question”.
In Q3, on coordinate geometry of the circle, he said the only issue was “the slightly unusual wording in the last part of the question”.
In Q4, on trig identities and equations, he said part a (ii), “possibly posed the biggest challenge”.
Mr Roantree regarded Q5 on areas and volumes, as “more difficult than it first appeared and required students to be more innovative in their approach to the answer”.
In contrast, he thought Q6 (b), a geometry cut based on Theorem 13 – which featured in the (a) part of the question - “was easier than it first appeared”. On the other hand, Mr Toland described Q6 (b) as difficult.

Mr Toland thought Section B as “more forgiving than Section A and students that knew their trigonometry would have scored well here."

Mr Roantree regarded the two trigonometry questions, 7 and 9, as “very nice”.

However, Tony McGennis, an Association of Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (ASTI) subject representative, thought they “were certainly geared towards people who did physics and applied maths.”

Mr Roantree said Q8, where parts (a) and (b) were on statistics and (c) on probability, was “very nice” for those students who were familiar with statistics.

Mr Toland described Q8, as “not too tough”, but added that part (c) “had nothing to do with the earlier parts of the question which does not really fit with the “Context and Applications” setting.

Mr Roantree reckoned most students would have avoided Q10, on probability. He said the (a) part was reasonable, but (b) and (c) “were very challenging, both in terms of their length and wording.”

However, Mr Toland regarded Q10 as ”a nice probability question”, consisting of Bernoulli Trials and Expected Values.


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