Reaction to Leaving Cert 2023 Maths Paper 1 (Higher Level) by Aidan Roantree, Maths teacher at The Institute of Education.
- A challenging paper with some low hanging fruit where students can accumulate significant marks.
- This paper continues a recent trend towards asking questions which probe students’ understanding of concepts.
- The tendency to scour the syllabus for topics which have not been asked previously continues.
Students hoping to go through the motions will likely be unsettled by this paper as those setting the exam strive to be as novel as possible. While some questions contained pleasantly simple demands, the phrasing of the questions would have given students a cause for pause. Once overcoming the initial ‘wow’ reaction, they could really get to grips with the questions.
The short questions of Section A balanced the conventional and the abstract. Questions 1, 4, 5, 6 were accessible to most but Q2 and Q3 relied on an abstract approach. Students who hope to rely on recognising previous examples will be sorely disappointed as the paper emphasised command of the fundamental concepts involved.
Section B would have posed a challenge for many as the Applications required yet more active engagement with the questions’ demands. Question 7 had an accessible beginning, but two of the final stages are where the highest achievers will distinguish themselves. Question 8 was the long overdue appearance of Financial Maths, which many students would have been seen as being as close to guaranteed as a topic can be. This question continued the trend since 2019 of dismantling the demarcation between papers as Probability appeared ahead of its traditional place on Monday’s exam.
Question 9 was by far the most approachable but again has an unusual start that requires the student to take a moment of pause before progressing. Question 10, after an easy part (a), quickly descended into a tricky mix of sequences, series and geometry that would challenge most students.
There were however ways for students to accrue necessary marks, but few will leave the exam hall feeling triumphant.