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Leaving Cert 2022: Extra choice on Maths papers adds up for students

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There was a general air of approval from teachers and students for Leaving Cert higher level Maths Paper 1, which focuses on number algebra, functions and calculus. It was heavy on the calculus.

Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) subject representative Niall Duddy, said his students were “happy enough, although they were glad to have to extra choice”.

He said, “it very heavy on calculus, but still well received”.

Mr Duddy, of Presentation College, Athenry, Co Galway, said financial maths did not appear on this paper and the 64,000 dollar question now was, would it turn up in Paper 2 on Monday.

Meanwhile, a fair paper but not without a couple of challenges, was how teacher Aidan Roantree summed it up

Mr Roantree, senior maths teacher at Dublin’s Institute of Education, said, “despite initially appearing off-putting, students would eventually have found most parts of these questions accessible.

In Section A, where students had to answer four of six questions, there were “at least 4 nice questions”, he said adding that Q4 and Q6 would probably have been least popular with students.

In a comment on Q3, on complex numbers, he said, whereas mostly it was standard, students might have been slightly surprised by a slight overlap with coordinate geometry.

Mr Roantree said Section B was “a bit trickier” than Section A. “Each question was quite long with a number of parts, but, despite this, students would have been able to make a decent go at most parts”.

He identified Q7, as one of the more challenging. “It was nominally on heart rates, and contained parts on algebra, rates of change and a novel form of connected rates of change.”

Eamonn Toland of themathstutor.ie described it as an “accessible paper for the well-prepared student, considering the amount of choice available”.

“Any student with a good knowledge of algebra, functions and calculus would have had plenty of choice to tackle this paper,” he said

Questions included “some interesting scenarios about heart rates, about a Ferris wheel, and about the injection of medical drugs,” he said,

Mr Toland commented that question 10 had a scenario about students' ability to memorise a long list of digits.”

He described it as an “interesting question” which involved a nice application of log functions.

Stephen Begley of Dundalk Grammar School and the Studyclix.ie exams website, said given the “generous and fair nature of the questions, “students will certainly feel positive going into the weekend of study ahead of paper 2. It will be interesting to see if the examiner carried the direct and condensed questioning style over to paper 2 on Monday.”

“Critically, the question on most people’s mind will be where has financial maths gone? The examiner had prime opportunity to focus on this as a long question, but instead opted to pull trigonometry, a prime Paper 2 topic onto Paper 1.

“While students would be delighted with the trig question presented, students who prepared and tackled financial maths have certainly been let down,” he said, adding that “other notable absences were proof by induction and solving complex equations.”

If the higher level paper was calculus rich, at ordinary level , there was a very strong emphasis on algebra. “It made it very accessible for students with good algebra skills, especially considering the amount of choice available, but it would have been more challenging for students who are not so strong on this key topic,” said Mr Toland.

Overall, “given the amount of choice on the paper this year, students would have had ample time to show off their maths knowledge and skills ,” he said.

He said there was an interesting question related to the flight path of a hurling ball, requiring calculus skills, but Mr Toland thought it strange to see a question about depreciation rates for cars. “As anyone buying a used car recently may know, prices are more likely to increase than decrease, so the depreciation curve in real life may slope upwards!,” he said

The paper included an interesting question related to the flight path of a hurling ball, requiring calculus skills.

Jean Kelly, a maths teacher at The Institute of Education, described the ordinary level paper as “nice with a few tricky parts”.

“The questions were clear and well structured, and students were guided in the right direction when answering the questions. If students had kept their wits about them and read the questions carefully, they would have found it quite manageable,” she said.

Ms Kelly noted that there was a lot of algebra and graphs and, as with last year, there was very little calculus.


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