Maths Paper 2 (O): A long but accessible exam paper

Reaction to Leaving Cert 2021 Maths Paper 2 (Ordinary Level) by Jean Kelly, Maths teacher at The Institute of Education.

At 26 pages, this was a long paper, but it was also very accessible.

Questions were very clear and precise, with enough scaffolding to walk students clearly through each part of each question.

For the first time ever there was a long question on coordinate geometry of the line. This was a beautiful question but it’s a shame that it was the last question on the paper.

Students only had to answer four out of six short questions in Section A, and two out of four long questions in Section B.


Question 1 on probability was a straightforward and very nicely put together question.

Question 2 was on probability and area & volume. This was a very standard question and there was nothing out of the ordinary here.

Question 3 was on the line. The equation of a line was a very prominent part of the question. Simultaneous equations also came up here as predicted.

Question 4 was on the circle. Part B of the question might have thrown weaker students.

Question 5 was on statistics.

Question 6 was a construction circumcircle. This was very clear and students were very well led through the question.


Question 7 was on statistics. Part A was a beautiful question on a histogram. Part B, on inferential statistics, has come up every year since 2015.

Question 8 was a mixture of area & volume and trigonometry. Students will have loved part A of the question on the trapezoidal rule, which was very manageable.

Question 9 was all trigonometry, with a small bit of area & volume at the end. Again, a very fair and manageable question.

Question 10 was on coordinate geometry of the line. This is the first time it has appeared as a long question and it was beautifully structured.