Leaving Cert Maths Paper 1

John - Higher Level

 What a relief! This was the unknown element, the paper that had never been examined before, and that never will be examined again in this exact format. Thankfully, and somewhat unusually for Project Maths, the SEC decided not to serve us any curveballs in what I found to be a very approachable paper. The material matched that of the sample papers (apart from one sequence/series question), which was fortunate.Any initial nerves I had were settled by a fairly straightforward complex numbers question, which helpfully asked you to verify provided answers, rather than find your own. This was followed by questions on algebra and logs that wouldn’t have looked out of place on the junior cert a few years ago.  Many people (myself included) were apprehensive about financial maths, which reared its ugly head in q4. This surprised me, given that the sample papers appeared to point to it being examined as either q5 or 6 (which are worth twice as many marks as each of the first four questions). As a result, it was a reassuringly basic task that didn’t ask too much of the student. The two questions in the ‘Contexts & Applications’ section were on algebra and sequence/series respectively, and required significantly more attention than the other questions. The first required you to examine the effect of ticket pricing on attendances, and went some way to explaining why Croke Park keep their prices so high at the expense of empty seats. I managed to battle my way through that one (was it me, or did we need to use differentiation there?), until the last part, which I came frustratingly close to working out before the time elapsed. The sequences question required some looking at from various angles, and I was delighted with myself when I finally cracked parts (c) and (d). The calculus section of the paper was quite friendly (I thought so anyway), particularly the integration.Overall, I’m delighted to have paper 1 out of the way, and I can only hope its relative lack of surprises doesn’t mean we’re in for a stinker of a paper 2! 

Sheila - Ordinary Level

 I felt that I needed to blog about the Ordinary Maths paper because to my absolute shock I was able to answer every question on the paper. As maths is my only pass subject I completely sidelined it for the past two years doing minimal work and just counting on my junior cert honours maths knowledge to get me through. But some one out there was feeling very nice this year. Not only were the English style question approachable but they often spoon fed you formulas and offered alternatives to attacking the question if you were unsure. I really felt quite spoon fed. I'm not complaining though the easier ,the better, for all of us ! I only need to pass maths but if paper two is as nice as paper one I may do a lot more than pass it as I'm sure many other people will. Please be nice to us in paper two, some constructions would be great! Fingers crossed.  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.