Updated: Nov 27, 2022
Leaving certificate maths is often a daunting and anxiety-inducing exam for many students. This is partly due to the challenges associated with studying maths for the leaving cycle, but it's also due to the infamous maths paper 2. However, when you’re armed with the correct information, you can prepare for the topics on the paper to ace the exam.
The topic sections on leaving certificate maths paper 2 are probability and statistics, geometry and trigonometry, numbers, and lastly algebra. These topics are broken down into several subtopics and are asked across two sections; A and B.
This piece will examine and break down the topics covered in leaving cert paper 2 maths. Keep reading to learn about what could come up in the paper, as well as how these topics are asked on paper 2.
1) Probability and Statistics
Arguably the most useful topic on either leaving cert maths paper is probability and statistics. This topic challenges students’ ability to calculate and understand probability and statistics, as well as their comprehension of different concepts and graphs within the subject.
2) Geometry and Trigonometry
Geometry and trigonometry account for about 20% to 25% of the entire paper. Geometry is the study of geometrical features, in other words, its the study of lines, segments, and shapes of any description. Trigonometry is similar but focuses on triangles, with special emphasis on the right angle and Pythagoras' theorem.
Of course, for the leaving certificate cycle, you need to know more than just one theorem; there are over a dozen you need to be familiar with for higher-level paper 2.
The majority of the number topic questions will appear on paper 1 of your exam. However, a small portion of the questions on this topic can appear in this paper also. As a result, it’s worthwhile taking note of what subtopics of numbers appear on your paper 1 exam, as the ones that don’t will likely appear on paper 2.
Algebra is another topic that appears across both papers of your leaving cert exams, regardless of your level. This section accounts for 30% of your entire result; making it the largest component of your marks.
Leaving Cert Math's Paper 2 Sections
Both the paper 1 and paper 2 exams of leaving certificate math's are split into two sections; A and B. Each section is worth equal marks and therefore should get equal attention during your studies. This is the case for both OL and HL exams, and the topics of each paper can appear in either or both of the two sections.
See below for a breakdown of what to expect from both sections below.
Section A is what I like to call traditional maths questions. In other words, section A gives students a math problem that they need to solve, a theorem they need to prove, or something else based just on maths, and not words.
2X + 4X = 8, Solve for X
2X + 4X= 6X = 8
6X = 8
Section B is where the math's paper challenges a student's ability to apply math's to real-life situations. This section is often viewed as more challenging since students need to identify the correct math's to apply to a situation, and then they need to know how to correctly apply the math's they have chosen.
Mary wants to build an extension of her home. She wants her extension to have an area half the size of her existing house and she wants to install tiles on the floor in her new extension.
If Mary’s home is true square with wall lengths of 8 meters, how many 1 Meter square tiles will Mary needs to tile the floor in the extension?
A= House Area Size
L = Wall length = 8m
L x L = A
X = Extension floor area size = 0.5A
8 x 8 = 64 = A
64(0.5) = X = 32
Mary needs 32 1-meter square tiles for her new extension.
Math's paper 2 is a challenging paper that many students dread during their leaving certificate exams. However, the best way to overcome an upcoming challenge is through proper preparation and study.
To do this, you need to focus your study on the relevant topics; probability and statistics, geometry and trigonometry, numbers, and algebra.