The higher level Junior Certificate maths paper 2 had a mix of very manageable and some tricky parts, according to Elaine Devlin of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI).

One question that asked for the importance about using representative samples in statistical research had the capacity to produce long but incorrect answers.

She felt it was an unnecessary confusion to require students to use shoe lengths instead of familiar units like centimetres or millimetres in a question looking for the height of a tower. 

However, another question about statements on squares and right angles was described as incredibly easy.

The exam did not contain as many hints as Paper 1 on Friday and was certainly more challenging, she felt.

Ms Devlin said that parts of the ordinary level Paper 2 were very challenging for students of that standard. 

Some parts of an area question were probably of the exact same standard of a very similar question on the higher level exam, and another on algebra would have been more suited to higher level candidates.

She considered a question based on a survey of students’ social media use was very wordy, and described a question about a gridded map as a likely write-off for many. 

The construction they had to do was on a map, something she said they would never before have been asked. 

Junior Certificate science was examined in the afternoon and Teachers’ Union of Ireland education officer David Duffy said the well-prepared higher level student should have done well.

He said students at higher and ordinary level would welcome a less cluttered layout than previous years’ exams. 

The ordinary level exam featured some of the more difficult course experiments, and students probably had to write more than usual.

John Conneely, ASTI’s junior cycle science spokesperson, said the higher level paper had a very nice range of straightforward biology questions. 

He said students were tested on a range of fundamental chemistry topics, with one challenging question asking them to write a balanced equation. 

He liked questions on covalent and ionic bonding, and the properties of covalent and ionic compounds.

The physics section included what Mr Conneely considered nice questions on velocity and on Ohm’s Law. 

He said the ordinary level exam appeared to contain no surprises, and the better-prepared students could have done really well on it. 

While there were some challenging questions, he thought it was mostly straightforward.


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