<< Tips & Advice

Maths During Lockdown

I am fed up being told these are strange times. We all know it. I have no choice and neither do you. So let’s get on with it. The great thing is maths is maths. No change… it stays constant and will not let you down.

So you’re a student in school wondering what you should be working on.. First I hope that you are getting work and some sort of online contact from your teacher. If not contact the school and ask the hard question, ‘why not’.

The online learning does work but you must engage. Plus you must not be hard on yourself. Give yourself breaks. The hardest bit of this is actually trying to do your own study at night. Make a plan and try to stick to it. Have a night time timetable especially for exam years.

One thing you must build in is some form of exercise. It could be a 30 minute run, pucking a ball or just a nice simple walk. If you want something harder go for it. I would suggest plan your exercise  after your school day and before you start your evening study.

First years

Keep it simple. Attend your classes, ask questions when you are stuck and do your homework. I say again do your homework. Homework is not a punishment it is vital. It helps you make sure you understand the material. It does not have to be perfect just attempted.

Second years

The above applies. You need to learn the material. A second copy or debate cards are useful. What do I really need to know?  Are there words, formulae or methods that I can learn? Yes there are. Put them in a notebook, it helps the learning process and you can come back to them later for quick revision.

Third years

This is the first year of the new style of exam. The questions will be much the same as in previous years but a huge difference is there is only 1 exam that is 2 hours long. That means you have to know as much as you can for one exam. There is a huge amount of material. You need a plan for your revision, and you need to stick to it. I will put up on the revise.ie website our tips and tricks and our suggestions for your best way to prepare for the exam. There is one crucial chapter that you need and that is Algebra.

They have produced one sample paper so far with 14 questions. You are going to do a lot of work and have only a small number of questions to answer. It is easy to get caught on any particular question. It is vital that you learn the material and practice old junior cert questions.

Fifth years

Ordinary level – attend class and make sure to do your homework.

Higher level – attend class and do your homework. You must learn the material as you go on. There is no easy chapter that you can sit back and not bother too much with. Do you know the words, formulae, and methods? Have you done the constructions and proofs and could you do any of them out without having to think? If you have, you need to know them. Put them all together in one notebook or tie debate cards together will all the vital information. Do not wait to get help. If you are stuck ask your teacher. If you think you would benefit from extra help well get it if you can. Revise.ie can help if you need assistance. You cab check out the website for available classes.

Sixth years

Leaving cert is broken into 2 papers both 2 hours and 30 minutes long. The total marks for both papers are 300 marks each. It is of course going to be different this year with choice built in. Section A will have 6 questions you will only need to do 5. Each is worth 30 marks.

Section B will have 3 questions you only need to do 2.

The vital topics for paper 1 are algebra, functions and calculus. Algebra goes into a lot of questions but differentiation is where the real marks are, especially at higher level. You just have to put effort into these. They are the corners of the course for paper 1 worth as much as 230 marks at higher level and 150 marks at ordinary level.

On paper 2 you have got to be good at probability and statistics and at higher level trigonometry is a must. Probability and statistics can be awkward but are huge in terms of marks. There are a lot of words that you must know the meaning of and you must learn these.

You need to come up with a plan for study. I would suggest that Algebra is first. I would do Geometry followed by trigonometry for sure at higher level. Then it really does not matter but there are certain topics that go well together.

Do the line before the circle but study one after the other.

Do function, differentiation and integration together. Integration is only for higher and some will split from integration but do not do that as they are asked together in the exam.

You need to study sequence and again at higher level, it is very important to follow up with financial maths.

I think if I were getting ready for the exam I would stick in probability and statistics little and often with a big push here in the last few weeks. It is one of those that must be in your head as you go into the exam. Complex number is nice and will take about a week to do.

You must know constructions and at higher level proofs and theorems. Learn the material, learn it well then do leaving cert questions. For more of a breakdown and exam tips visit revise.ie.


Exam Tips

Do not go over time even if the question is not fully finished. It is vital that you get to the last question.

The answer is in the question. Read the question before you start carefully. Underline what you think are the important parts. Do not underline every single bit just the key words.

When you get stuck (note I said ‘when’ not ‘if’) read the question. The answer is there in front of you. If you cannot see what is going on put a red star beside the question and move on. A red star means that you have no real idea what to do, so do not waste time feeling sorry for yourself, come back later and write down anything. It is mad what you will get marks for so always make the effort to get something down. You must practice old exam papers it is the only way to be exam ready.

A really good thing is the chief examiners’ reports. We have put the reports for maths up on our website www.revise.ie. We will also put up all the topics that you must cover for the maths course.

Silly Mistakes

There are silly mistakes that people make that cost marks.

  1. Sign mistakes. It is so easy to make a silly sign mistake either when doing a calculation or when you have to change the sign of a line and you forget one term.
  2. You must put in the right units when doing questions on length, area and volume or when it is speed-distance –time.
  3. Decimal place. If asked to round to one decimal place then do so correctly. Read the question.

Do not get stressed. Try your best. Work Monday to Friday.

If you are in an exam year,  revision at weekend is important but so is some down time. Have a timetable for when you are working and when your off your off.

Topics for Junior cert – all on one paper.

Topics for Junior cert – all on one paper.

In order of importance

  • Algebra
  • Probability
  • Statistics
  • Functions and graphs
  • Line
  • Speed distance and time
  • Trigonometry
  • Money
  • Area and volume
  • Geometry
  • Sequence
  • Indices
  • Sets


Leaving cert

Paper 1

  • Algebra
  • Functions, Differentiation and Integration (H)
  • Complex Number
  • Sequence and series
  • Financial Maths
  • Proof by induction (H)
  • Proof by contradiction (H)

Paper 2

  • Probability and statistics
  • Trigonometry
  • Geometry
  • Line
  • Circle
  • Area and volume