Maths Paper 1 (O): Doable With Plenty of Opportunities for Marks

LC Maths O Paper 1 Analysis 2023

Reaction to Leaving Certificate 2023 Maths Paper 1 (Ordinary Level) by Jean Kelly, Maths teacher at The Institute of Education.

  • A fair paper but with phrasing that might concern some students.
  • Thoroughly doable with plenty of opportunities for marks.
  • Looks daunting at first glance, but after a deep breath the students could really get stuck into it.

This paper did not follow the blueprint of the past. While lots of the usual suspects appear, the examiners really wanted to test how well the students grasp the core concepts of Maths. In the short questions students were asked about the topical issue of mortgages – which likely caused a stir of panic – but really was just like a Compound Interest question; it just didn’t say “Compound Interest” or “Percentages”.

I really liked Q1(C) – it was all technique. They gave you the formula and all you had to do was walk through the steps. Indeed, while the paper had a few daunting moments they were balanced out by the inclusion of hints of how to progress, something not seen before. Question 3(B) was a number lines question which at is core was very Junior-Cycle-esque. The material itself was not hard, the students just needed to take a moment to consider what is really being asked. If you knew your notations and the necessary vocabulary of Maths you were fine, but in an exam situation “real roots” and “modulus” might have caused some to second guess themselves. Question 6 was a lovely mix of Algebra and Calculus that would have allowed weaker students to score some easier marks.

Some material from previous years reappeared. For the second year in a row the simpler simultaneous equations appeared. Tangents of a curve made their third appearance, clearly showing that it is now a staple question.

The longer questions of Part B might have panicked students who thought too rigidly about how material will be divided between the two papers.

Overall, the majority of students should have come out of this exam relatively happy.