But Tony McGennis of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) said tasks of different levels of difficulty about the scenario were set on each paper, a practice that lends itself well in future to students changing levels and to group work in mixed-level classes.
In line with the Project Maths syllabus, one higher level question combined trigonometry with area and volume, Mr McGennis said.
Although a coordinate geometry question appeared easier than usual, he said students cannot choose between questions like they can in other subjects.
Asking students how to select a random sample of schools for a survey, or about using email to collect data, were not traditional maths questions but would have come up in class, he said.
The Teachers Union of Ireland’s Emily Dwyer said the higher level paper covered a wide range of the syllabus and received positive student feedback. A statistics question challenged students’ understanding of concepts, but she said those who had revised carefully would have been prepared for it.
Ms Dwyer said ordinary level maths Paper 2 was well-written and student-friendly.
A question on area and volume asked them to find measurements, instead of them being provided on the paper, but well-revised students should have managed it with ease.
Mr McGennis said one ordinary level question asking students to draw the image of a triangle under axial symmetry was made simpler by the space on the paper, which was left free for them to draw it in. He said the ability to write answers in the exam booklet means there is less unnecessary reproduction and writing than might otherwise be required.
The single-level civic, social and political education (CSPE) exam included a task to write a Twitter message asking people to get involved in a campaign for development agency Gorta. The Association of CSPE Teachers felt it appealed to young people’s love of social media.
Association spokesman Brendan O’Regan said it featured many topical issues, including asking students for arguments for and against the introduction of water charges. He thought a question on media coverage of war would bring some interesting responses.
Donal McCarthy for the ASTI said the question on education campaigner Malala Yousafzai would have been welcome, as almost every CSPE class in the country will have discussed her Nobel Peace Prize.
Pictures of famous buildings in Ireland were very like those in a past exam, but he said Dublin students might have been better able to recognise the Central Bank.