Maths Paper 2 (H): A Challenging Paper with Some Text-heavy Questions

LC Maths H Paper 2 Analysis 2023

Reaction to Leaving Cert 2023 Maths Paper 2 (Higher Level) by Louise Boylan, Maths teacher at The Institute of Education.

  • A challenging paper with some dauntingly text-heavy questions
  • A broad set of questions which examined every topic associated with Paper 2.
  • Well-scaffolded questions mean that students who attempted every element had plenty of opportunity to accrue marks, even if they found the overall question tough.

Many students will have entered this exam with their confidence knocked from Paper 1, but Paper 2 was much more inline with what students are familiar with. The paper covered a broad spread of material, some of which was intermingled, but a prepared student would have been able to apply the topics they studied.

It is clear that the exam-setters are emphasising the need for a firm critical approach and so their questions are more ‘creative’ than in previous years. There was a requirement for interpretation and comprehension in order to piece out the right approach for how to proceed. Again, many students will find this a cause for pause. However, well-scaffolded questions meant that a stumble in an early part didn’t rule out the later sections. Students doing every part of the question will most likely have accrued more marks than they might feel. There were continued opportunities to gather valuable marks if you kept your head down and kept going.

The blurring of the demarcation between papers continued as Part A made heavy use of Algebra, a topic that is most closely associated with Paper 1. The latter stages of the paper increased in complexity. In particular, Question 10 was tricky as the construction asked was not one of the 21 they would have pre-prepared. Again, this is examiner looking for a particular critical approach to the subjects and its methods.

Many will find this a fairer paper than Friday’s Paper 1, which put many students on the backfoot heading into today. The marking over the summer will reflect the reactions to the papers, and so students will often have done better than they intuitively felt in the moment.