In this article, we are going to take a look at what topics are covered in the Junior Cycle Maths Course. Then we're going to break them down and have a quick look at the exam.

"What is mathematics? It is only a systematic effort of solving puzzles posed by nature."

Shakuntala Devi

The junior cycle mathematics curriculum consolidates and develops students’ learning from primary school. Junior Cycle maths is developed to align with Leaving Certificate Mathematics to allow for the effective transfer of knowledge, understanding, and skills from junior to senior cycle.

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Junior cycle maths syllabus breakdown:

The 4  main strands in the Junior cycle maths are as follows:

  1. Number
    This strand focuses on different aspects of numbers, laying the groundwork for the transition from
    arithmetic to algebra. Learners explore different representations of numbers and the connections
    between them, as well as the properties and relationships of binary operations. They investigate
    number patterns and use ratio and proportionality to solve a variety of problems in numerous
    contexts.
  2. Geometry and trigonometry
    This strand focuses on analysing characteristics and properties of two- and three-dimensional
    geometric shapes. Learners use geometry and trigonometry to model and solve problems involving
    area, length, volume, and angle measure
  3. Algebra and functions
    This strand focuses on representing and analysing patterns and relationships found in numbers.
    Building on their work in the Number strand, learners generalise their observations, expressing, interpreting, and justifying general mathematical statements in words and symbolic notation.
  4. Statistics and probability
    This strand focuses on determining probability from random events and generating and
    investigating data. Students explore the relationship between experimental and theoretical probability as well as completing a data investigation; from formulating a question and designing the investigation through to interpreting their results in context and communicating their findings.
maths tools jc
It is so important to use tools that you're familiar with during your exam come there is nothing worse than trying to use a calculator you've never used before and especially if you are not familiar with its settings and where to find the correct functions -Image by jusuf111 from Pixabay

Classroom-Based Assessments in Junior Cycle Maths

There are two classroom-based assessments as part of the junior cycle maths course. Classroom-Based Assessments (CBAs) take place in school during the second year and third year.

Classroom-Based Assessment 1:

Mathematical Investigation.  Takes place at the end of the second year.

Students will, over a three-week period, follow the Problem-solving cycle to investigate a mathematical problem.

Problem-solving cycle: define a problem; decompose it into manageable parts and/or simplify it using appropriate assumptions; translate the problem to mathematics if necessary; engage with the problem and solve it if possible; interpret any findings in the context of the original problem.

maths timing
When it comes to creating a study timetable or sitting an exam timing is everything - Image by tjevans from Pixabay

Classroom-Based Assessment 2:

Statistical investigation. Takes place at the end of the third year.

Students will, over a three-week period; follow the Statistical enquiry cycle.

Statistical enquiry cycle: formulate a question; plan and collect unbiased representative data; organise and manage the data; explore and analyse the data using appropriate displays and numerical summaries and answer the original question giving reasons based on the analysis section.

Assessment Task:

The Assessment Task is a written task completed by students during class time, which is not marked by the class teacher but is sent to the State Examinations Commission for marking. It will be allocated 10% of the marks used to determine the grade awarded by the SEC. The Assessment Task is specified by the NCCA and is related to the learning outcomes on which the second Classroom-Based Assessment is based. The content and format of the Assessment Task may vary from year to year.

The Junior Cycle Maths Exam

There will be two examination papers, one at Ordinary and one at Higher level, set and marked by the State Examinations Commission (SEC). The examination will be two hours in duration and will take place in June of the third year.

Junior Cycle Final Examination Sample Papers for both Ordinary and Higher levels can be found online at examinations.ie.

At the Ordinary level you may be asked questions similar to the one seen in the image below:

JC sample questions
Sample Ordinary level Junior Cycle maths question

By asking about, the total cost, you are asked to add the items together to get the 'sum total' of Tom's shopping.

By asking about the change Tom receives from a €20 note, you are asked to subtract the total cost of the groceries from the €20 note.

The ordinary level maths exam is about testing your skills when it comes to the everyday use of maths in real life.

Although you maybe ask questions similar in style for higher-level maths, the question is will be more complicated. That doesn't mean that they're still not useful in everyday circumstances.

Below is a very similar example for a higher-level question, as we looked at above for ordinary level. The main difference is the difficulty in the sums you're asked to do.

sample jc maths
Sample higher-level questions for junior cycle maths

As you can see, the questions are similar, they both ask about ingredients but where the difference is, the ordinary level question asked about addition and subtraction. This higher-level question asks about division in part a, ratios in part B and a mixture of addition, subtraction, percentages and multiplication in part C.

It is this difference in difficulty which separates the ordinary level exam from the higher-level exam.

"There's no such thing as a 'maths brain.' Anyone can be numerate; it's just a matter of confidence. There are so many opportunities to improve your skills during everyday life, doing even a little a day can make maths feel more familiar and less scary."

Rachel Riley

using YouTube to learn
There are a few educational YouTube channels that are dedicated to helping Junior cycle maths students. (Source: Unsplash)

A great way to prepare for any maths exam it's to use some past papers as practice. Even though the junior cert change to the junior cycle, some of the past exam papers will be helpful to you and why not try them with some assistive youtube videos.

Many certified teachers such as those at The Dublin Academy of Education are uploading their maths lessons to Youtube.

This is a popular resource for students who are working through maths past papers since they are usually exam specific. So if you want to work through the Junior cycle or Leaving cert past papers, you'll find a video for your exact practice paper.

This method of revision is useful for students as they can pause, rewind, and replay parts of the lesson at any point and, of course, it's completely free! All you need is a Wifi connection.

And if you're not preparing to sit an exam, there are plenty of videos teaching general maths. So if you want to refresh your mind in maths and feel curious why not try a quick search?.

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Maureen

Hey, I'm Maur/Mo, I'm a writer from Ireland. I've written a novel and a lot of poetry and fiction. Currently, I work as a content writer at superprof