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.