Ireland

Leaving Cert 2021: A maths paper that made for some ‘joyous reading’

It is not often that a Leaving Cert Maths exam makes for “joyous reading” for students but that is how one teacher described the Ordinary Level Paper 1.

nother described how her students came out “with smiles on their faces”

Alan Boal of studyclix.ie and Royal and Prior Comprehensive School in Raphoe, Co. Donegal, said “there was a lot for students to be happy with” in the short questions, while “long questions also made for joyous reading for many of the students”.

Jean Kelly, a teacher at The Institute of Education, Dublin, described it as “a lovely paper. Students left the exam with smiles on their faces.
She said there was “no heavy language was used and the questions were phrased in a clear and concise way.”

Tony McGennis, an Association of Secondary Teachers’ Ireland (ASTI) subject representative, described the paper as “ fine”, but said some of the questions “were asked differently from before”.

Eamonn Toland of the mathstutor.ie said the first Section A question on VAT provided a gentle opening and in others, there was “nothing too challenging, and most questions starting gently and building in difficulty.”

He said Section B, which contains the more complex questions , was also “mostly straightforward, with many old-fashioned questions which hark back to the pre-Project Maths era.”

Mr Toland said Q7 on Universal Social Charge was long but not difficult, while Q8 was “an interesting problem involving the volume of a cardboard box, which would look familiar to canny students who revised as far back as the 2014 exam paper.”

Ms Kelly described Q8 as “a lovely question, and it contained no calculus so students will be delighted with this.”

Although Mr Boal felt many students went home happy, he said Q9 was “quite long and I feel that students may have become stuck in the latter parts”. Ms Kelly felt it was “very similar to past papers and there were no difficult parts.”

Mr Toland noted that Q 10b involved a story about John and Mary walking around in circles, “perhaps a fitting metaphor for the Covid-19 era”.

Mr Boal described Q10 as “not for the faint hearted” and Ms Kelly agreed it may not have suited everyone. “Students would need to have made sure they knew their speed distance time formula here,” she said.

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