"Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas." -Albert Einstein

Without the academic discipline of mathematics, many aspects of logical thinking would not exist. So you could say that the subject of maths organises complex topics and logical and abstract ideas in a box that makes it more accessible to modern-day learners.

Whether you struggle with or love the subject of mathematics during your formative years, one thing is true: you must pass secondary-level maths exams to receive a graduating diploma.

So, without further delay, in today's article, we shall highlight a comprehensive guide of the leaving certificate maths exam to prepare Irish students for success.

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How to Study for the Leaving Cert Maths Exam

how to study
Knowing how to use most of the keys on your calculator will save you a lot of time during exams. (Source: Unsplash)

When confronted with a difficult challenge, such as getting a good result on the leaving cert maths exam, knowing how to study effectively and prepare is half the battle. Therefore, to effectively score above a three, maybe even get a one, on either the higher, ordinary, or foundation leaving cert subjects such as maths, students must heed studying advice from experienced ones. Such as?

Without further delay, the following are a few techniques on how to study for the leaving cert maths exam successfully:

  • Practice Maths Problems from Past Papers: thanks to excellent online resources, it is easily accessible to find past maths papers from previous years. We powerfully suggest taking the time to review the maths equations and problems you didn't quite understand initially and work your way through them; remember, practice makes perfect. Also, to make your study sessions feel like mock exams, do the maths equations without the help of your class notes. Then, glance through the past maths exam and determine how much time you should spend on each question and which ones deserve more attention than others.
  • Focus on the Important Topics: aren't all the mathematical topics important when studying for a maths examination? Not necessarily. While it is true that you shouldn't cut corners and you should learn about all aspects of maths, on the leaving cert maths examination, some topics are featured more than others. For instance, questions that have to do with algebra, calculus, geometry, and probability are the overwhelming majority on the leaving cert maths test; so, spend time honing your skills in those subdisciplines.
  • Use All the Functions of Your Calculator: to effectively solve maths equations at a leaving cert-level, you've most likely bought a scientific calculator. To better use the calculator, a student must know its functions. Therefore, dedicate time to learning more about the parts of the calculator by reading the instruction manual. Scientific calculators are designed to help you save time, allowing you to complete more questions on the final exam. Ask your maths teacher for assistance in using your new calculator; their knowledge might surprise you!

By considering the previously mentioned tips on how to study, you are preparing yourself for final exam victory!

What Topics are Covered in the Leaving Cert Maths?

Before embarking on the adventure of completing leaving cert subjects such as maths, it is wise to have an idea about how the syllabus is structured and how examinations are organised.

First of all, it is essential to state that maths is one of the few core subjects of the leaving cert curriculum which means that all students must complete it. Students take part in the maths syllabus during a minimum of two years of study and are required to go through five strands of study that are the following:

  1. Statistics and Probability, 
  2. Geometry and Trigonometry, 
  3. Number, 
  4. Algebra, 
  5. Functions.

Specific topics and subjects relevant to the last five mentioned strands of mathematical disciplines are included in the final examination that takes 2.5 hours to complete and is divided into two sections. How's that? There is Paper 1 and Paper 2. Both papers have two sections, A and B, and there are approximately six questions for part A and three questions for part B; this is based on data from past papers in maths.

The examination considers specific aspects of maths studied by students across two to three years, and that is considered part of the five strands or sections of the leaving cert maths syllabus.

For instance, on the topic of statistics and probability, students learn more about finding, collecting, and organising data, representing data graphically and numerically, and analysing, interpreting, and drawing conclusions from data, among other things.

During the geometry and trigonometry section of maths studies, topics such as transformations, enlargements, parallelograms, and similar triangles are analysed during the geometry section. As for trigonometry, learners acquire a basic comprehension of sin, cos, & tan, sine rule, and the cosine rule.

Thirdly, in the number section of maths studies, students are encouraged to add, subtract, multiply, and divide rather large and complex number systems.

Fourthly, as for algebra, students acquire a knowledge of topics such as the quadratic formula, simplifying algebraic fractions, manipulating formulas, solving simultaneous equations, and solving quadratic equations.

Lastly, in the section or branch of functions, injective, surjective, and bijective functions are taken a look at and limits and continuity of operations. Also, calculus is a significant aspect of the strand of functions.

By paying close attention to all maths topics studied during the leaving cert syllabus, you are educating yourself and learning how to prepare for the upcoming exam.

Leaving Cert Maths Notes, Exam Papers and Online Resources

using YouTube to learn
A few educational YouTube channels are dedicated to helping Irish students learn more about leaving cert maths. (Source: Unsplash)

To make the learning process much more interesting, students and teachers have started to implement learning tools that complement the acquisition of new topics. Practical learning resources prevent students from getting bored and help to reinforce specific skills or concepts.

To make the journey of learning maths more enjoyable for leaving cert students, there are various websites to find maths notes, past papers, and informative videos/worksheets. Which sites are those? Let's take a look!

Where to Find Maths Notes

When looking for maths notes, either digital or tangible, that may help you better understand complex topics; we recommend taking a look at the following two websites:

  • Exam Learn: on this site, there are typed notes and video tutorials that help students grasp the necessary topics of leaving cert maths.
  • StudyClix: featuring videos and PDF study notes that touch on necessary topics such as algebra, number sets, complex numbers, and log and indices, StudyClix is a great online resource for maths students at a secondary school level.

Locating Past Papers

Past maths papers are fantastic for students who want to solve maths equations in their future leaving cert maths examination. The following are two brilliant sites to find higher, ordinary, and foundation-level maths exams:

  • The Leaving Cert: established to help curious students find news, past papers, video tutorials, and tips about any leaving cert topics; the Leaving Cert has past papers in maths from 2005 to 2019.
  • State Examinations Commission: sometimes, when you're looking for the best, you need to turn towards the source. When it comes to finding past maths papers, the state examinations commission is not only the ones who created them, but they also have them archived in their online system.

Additional Online Resources

If you ever want to change your study session routine and find engaging resources, you are bound to find some on the endless world known as the internet. Such as?

For example, sites such as YouTube, you've probably heard of it, boast excellent channels that offer practical advice on passing the leaving cert maths exams. We powerfully suggest taking a look at both the Simple Science and Maths and Exam Learn channels to find educational videos.

Also, if you're looking for additional resources, take a peek at the iRevise and The Maths Tutor website.

Leaving Cert Maths Exam Tips

forming a review squad
Creating or joining a study group with many like-minded individuals is a brilliant idea for studying maths fun. (Source: Unsplash)

When studying for a complex academic discipline such as mathematics, learners need all the help they can get to succeed. Therefore, tips and tricks from experienced ones should be welcomed with open arms.

The following are ten brilliant pieces of advice that make studying and preparing for the leaving cert maths exam a real feat:

  • Know everything there is to know about the leaving cert exam,
  • Practice Every Day, 
  • Take a peek at past leaving cert maths exams, 
  • Participate during class, 
  • Take notes during classroom discussions, 
  • Ask the teacher for help, 
  • Hire a private tutor for assistance, 
  • Actively look for online resources to complement the learning process, 
  • Create or join a study group with like-minded learners, 
  • Find a quiet place to study and practice for exams. 

In conclusion, we are sure that all your efforts to prepare for the leaving cert maths examination will succeed if you do not give up and keep studying; a fantastic future awaits you!

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