Maths Paper 1 (O): Clear questions and no surprises

Reaction to Leaving Certificate 2021 Maths Paper 1 (Ordinary Level) by Jean Kelly, Maths teacher at The Institute of Education

This was a lovely paper. Students were delighted and left the exam with smiles on their faces.

No heavy language was used and the questions were phrased in a clear and concise way.

There are a lot of topics to cover in the ordinary level syllabus, but very little of the material was asked.

This paper was heavy with number patterns, algebra, financial maths and functions. Very light on differentiation.


Question 1 was on financial maths.. This was a nice, expected question on VAT and a lovely start to the paper.

Question 2 was on complex numbers. The usual suspects appeared here on division, modulus and plotting.

Question 3 was a very manageable question on algebra and quadratic equations.

Question 4 was again on equations and algebra. There was nothing out of the ordinary here and nothing to throw students. The question was very straight and clear.

Question 5 was on functions and calculus. The dreaded calculus made an appearance in terms of turning points, in part c.

Question 6 was on number patterns. This was a very doable question and students didn’t have to use formulae.


Question 7 was on financial maths (USC and income tax). If students had a good grounding in percentages they would have got through this question with little difficulty.

Question 8 was a mixture of algebra, area & volume and functions & graphs. This was a lovely quetson, and it contained no calculus so students will be delighted with this!

Number patterns appeared again in question 9. This question was very similar to past papers and there were no difficult parts.

Question 10 was a mixture of numbers, standard form and a nice question on speed, distance and time. Students would need to have made sure they knew their speed distance time formula here.