Maths Paper 1 (H): A fair paper, with some challenges

Reaction to Leaving Certificate Maths Paper 1 (Higher Level) by Aidan Roantree, Maths teacher at The Institute of Education.

A fair paper, but not without a couple of challenges.

More choice and more time meant that students would have been able to avoid their worst topics and give a fair account of themselves.

Despite initially appearing off putting, students would eventually have found most parts of these questions accessible.

Section A

Students had to answer 4 out of 6 questions in this section. Overall, there were at least 4 nice questions here. Even if students couldn’t do them all, they could have had a go at the vast majority of four questions. Question 4 and 6 would probably have been least popular with students.

Question 1 was on quadratics and the types of root, and was a nice question.

Question 2 was on easy integration, leading to easy simultaneous equations.

Question 3 was on complex numbers and whereas mostly it was standard, students might have been slightly surprised by a slight overlap with coordinate geometry.

Question 4 was one of the trickier questions in Section A. It was on sequences, specifically recursion formula, and on arithmetic sequences and series and contained parts on powers and logs.

Question 5 was on differentiation, solving a cubic equation, and inequalities. It wasn’t a bad question.

Question 6 had three separate parts, all taken from differentiation. There was one part on first principles, one part on rates of change and a tricky part on a derivative graph.

Section B

Section B was a bit trickier and each question was quite long with a number of parts. Despite this, students would have been able to make a decent go at most parts.

Question 7 was nominally on heart rates, and contained parts on algebra, rates of change and a novel form of connected rates of change. This was a tricky question.

Question 8 concerned a Ferris wheel. What it really boiled down to was a question on trig graphs, and on trig calculus, including the perennial average value. As long as students were prepared for trig graphs on Paper 1, this was a nice question.

Question 9 dealt with exponential expressions and geometric series, and as long as students weren’t ill disposed towards these topics, this was probably one of the better questions.

Question 10, the memory recall question, really involved log functions and log equations, and yet more calculus.