Leaving Cert Maths Paper 2

Sarah – Higher Level

After two years of frantically trying to get my head around the new project maths nonsense, I am so so sooo relieved to say WE DID IT!!! I have to say, this was definitely the exam I was most apprehensive about, but it’s such an amazing feeling to have finally gotten the dreaded paper out of the way! I’ll admit, I was borderline on having a heart attack at seven a.m., but thankfully, I’ll never have to look at trigonometry again! 😀

So… the paper. When I actually opened the paper, I was completely overcome by a feeling of disgust. Question 1 is nearly always a nice little venn diagram with some basic probability. How dare they make me write words on my first page?! But after my initial shock and horror, it was just peachy. I liked question 2, mainly because once I realised that the circles touch internally, it was ridiculously simple. Question 3 was the perfect example of the SEC ruining students lives! I was so freaked out by that damned question that I could feel myself getting really panicked, so I took another couple of drops of Rescue Remedy (i can’t emphasise enough how important that stuff is for panickers like me) and I moved on to the next question.

Moving onwards and upwards, question four was just Bernoulli trials- I hadn’t expected such a straight-forward theory question as in part (i), but that was grand. I didn’t have a problem with number 5, but I know a few people who were a thrown by it. Question 6 was the “piece de resistance”. I decided I’d do both parts, seeing as I had oodles of time to spare. When I launched into 6A, I knew the question was super easy. However, due to some cruel twist of fate, I had a total blank, and what I did after that was quite possibly the stupidest, yet most brilliant thing I have ever done. Firstly, I extended the line out past B. I bisected that 180 degree angle, and continued to bisect that angle until I got a 60 degree angle. Mad, but still correct. I had plenty of practice bisecting angles for the 15 degree one. The next little (b) part was fine, not a bother. I thought 6B was a bit of a joke for honours maths. When I reached my answer, I thought I had gone wrong as I only used up about four lines of the box under the question, never mind the whole next page.

Question 7, anyone? What in the name of goodness was that??? I’m not a business student! Far from it, in fact. So what was the goal of the SEC, flinging a load of totally irrelevant jargon our way, and giving us the most ridiculous questions ever? Had they not been so carried away in trying to turn us into bankers, it would have been a decent topic for the 75 mark question, but I think they lost the run of themselves, much to the disadvantage of every student sitting the paper. So before I combust into a puff of smoke and fury, let’s move on. Question 8 made me die inside (just a little). My mind was blown away by everything except for the first part of the question. “What was all that talk of errors and positions and angles?” I hear you ask. Well here’s a little secret for you; I have no idea what happened. All I know is I started writing out words, words and more words, and I’m fairly sure none of them made any sense. But it’s okay, it’s all in the past now.

In short, it was a silly, silly paper. Did I agree with it? No. Did I feel I was tested on my knowledge of maths? No. Will I be writing a strongly worded letter to the SEC? Most definitely. So, comment below so I can see if I’m the only one who felt this way. For now, I’m off to go and learn the whole Irish course. I’ll be back blogging tomorrow about Biology, so I’ll chat to ye again then! 😉 x

ISSU Commentary

Higher level maths students banking on getting high marks in their exam will have found some aspects of paper 1 “very challenging”, according some yesterday.

The general feeling was that while it would be possible to get a good grade, it would prove to be very difficult to get above the average. The final parts of some questions were described as being ‘extremely challenging”. Earlier parts of the questions were more manageable and had a student prepared well it would have been possible to get a reasonable grade. Many of the expected topics came up. In general the whole paper was quite tricky and some thought even the (a) parts were more difficult than usual.

Question 1 on higher level gave a few people ‘the nerves’ but question 2 would have alleviated these. Parts (a) and (b) were ‘very fair’ while well prepared students would
have been given the chance to excel and showcase their knowledge with the (c) parts. 3c was described as ‘tricky’ for anyone uncomfortable with surds. Differentiation by first
principles did not come up for the second year in a row, which surprised some.

Please note: blog posts reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union. Blogs are updated daily by 6.30 pm on scheduled examination dates.


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10 thoughts on “Leaving Cert Maths Paper 2

  1. I definately felt the same way, it was more written than anything. Nothing like the SEC sample that took them so long to put together. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one 🙂

  2. Personally, i wanted to cry in the exam. Question 1,2 and 4 were the only ones that went remotely okay for me. By far the hardest and stupidist frikin maths i’ve ever done :L

  3. Totally agree with you. Nobody in my YEAR got Q3, not even the resident genius. Then came Q7 which took me 10mins to understand before starting the question. I also feel that if someone did economics or a business subject, that question would have been quite biased towards them. Finally Q8, I lost the plot completely, no idea what to do, came out of the exam kicking myself because I copped the cosine rule would work. Overall disgusted there wasn’t more on circles and the line despite wasting months of my life trying to understand them. Don’t care anymore though, Maths is over forever. :L

  4. This paper was a walk in the park! Man I freaking out about the paper up at 5 am for more revision and it turned out to be remarkable easy! Except for question 7… not a business student either but every other question was okay. Quite happy about it!

  5. That was by far the most ridiculous exam I have ever sat. I tend to vouch for the SEC in most cases with there fair exam papers. Today was a joke. I cried inside after seeing that business question. Did they mixup the Business Studies and Maths Paper? Cetainly hope so because I wasnt prepared for that exam by my teacher by prevous exam papers and in general by the SEC. A shocker of a paper

  6. Did any one of you said they nearly started crying? Well, I did. In the middle of my exam,stressed out, tears dropping down on that stupid exam paper. It was totally different from the sample papers. Nothing that SEC told to concentrate on came up(correlation coeficiant,proof by contradiction,line of best fit,the sampling). None of the official theorems came up.The trig question was the weirdest q I have seen in my life, a robots arm? What sort of joke was that? Even though I copped on to do cosine rule, i dont think it worked out. Probability qs were fine. What was even a point of introducing it to new 5th years last year? Couldn’t they just start that Project Maths thing with first years? I am really annoyed with them. Thankfully, its over now.

  7. I taught LC Maths for 20 years and Have been teaching A level recently. The emphasis on this paper was to make students ignorant of mathematics and able to perform calculations, It is a disgrace and a backward step. This kind of maths should be done by JC higher students, that angles question was an O level question when I was at school. Pathetic, and I feel so sorry for the thousands of you that will be “judged” by it.

  8. I think the NCCA and the SEC have serious questions to answer in relation to their much over hyped project maths! It’s a joke and is very intangible for students, sure the only reason they are awarding 25 extra points for higher level is to compensate for this joke of a course. Serious review needed. I’m not convinced
    after 2 years of hard work

  9. Can anyone explain a solution for Q.3? I know the fact the circle has, as two of its tangents, the x- and y-axes, that helps a little with identifying the centre and radius .. but only in terms of certain unknown variables .. unless the actual radius can be found, we can’t find the point opposite (1/2, 1/2), itself found on the line x + y = 1

    Goddamn, surely there’s no way of getting the radius (*any* size circle could have the x- and y-axes as tangents!?) .. and if there isn’t, the q. is impossible.

  10. I think I got it .. x+y=1 is a tangent to the circle .. x+y=1 cuts the axes at (0,1) and (1,0). From where the circle sits, its obvious the midpoint of these two points (.5,.5) is the pt of contact of the tangent.
    x+y=1 has slope -1, so its perpendicular has slope 1.
    Line with slope 1 and containing (.5,.5) is y-.5=1(x-.5) .. which is x-y=0.
    I think (how can I prove it though?!!) the circle hits the y-axis at (0,1) and the perpendicular (i.e. the radius) is defined by the eqn. y=1. Finding where these 2 radii intersect, we use simult. eqn.s:
    x =1 .. (1,1) centre of circle .. therefore pt of contact for x+y=k is (1.5,1.5) and slope -1 .. .. meaning eqn.: y-1.5=-1(x-1.5) =-x+1.5
    => 2y – 3 = -2x + 3
    => x + y = 3
    => k = 3 (.. x + y = k)

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