Joe's Jotter: Tackling the LC Maths papers from the chalk face (Part 2)
How do I deal with the wordier questions?
There are more words on a Maths paper than ever before. I think the secret is to read each question line by line and try to understand it.
· Ensure you underline the key Information given. [A number or a verb]
· If there is a diagram or graph, double check the words in the question against whats given in the image. Fill in any measurements or data onto the diagram to ensure you have the full Info you need now.
· If you find an answer as you are doing question parts, don’t forget to fill back the answer onto the diagram
· If the diagram involves individual parts i.e. Three triangles inside a large one. Redraw a smaller version of this diagram so that you can solve whats being asked.
· Know as many ‘Maths words’ as you can. What does ‘Solve’, ‘Evaluate’, ‘Express’, ‘Simplify’, ‘Factorise’ and ‘Differentiate’ etc mean. Insert these into your hardback, building up your word toolbox. Pay attention to words like ‘Calculate’, ‘Measure’, ‘Solve’ ‘Factorise’, ‘Correct to nearest unit’.
· Always give your answer in the exact format they asked for. This final bit could be worth 3/10 for a 10 marker
How big are past Papers as part of your Preparation?
· Past Papers give you the experience of doing different type of questions against the clock
· They also help you get used to the unpredictable nature of the exam
Students should practice past questions themselves at home – Start with one question –then do two and so on…. This is a brilliant way to prepare
Advice on revision or solution books for Maths?
I have a set of solution books with an extremely high level of detail to help you understand the steps to getting to a solution. There is one for LCO, LCH and a JCH one for your little brother or sister. Go to acesolutionbooks.com for full details. Write that down www.acesolutionbooks.com
General Advice on answering the Maths exam paper
· Most of the time… subbing in any value into the correct formula will give you the attempt mark (low partial credit… 2/5 or 4/10)
· Know what’s in your log tables but more importantly what’s not in your log tables…
· If you cannot do part (a) and (b) of a past exam question, don’t give up, part (c) and (d) will often allow you to start fresh.
· Do past questions. Do part (a) and part (b) questions under time pressure at home. Recreate the exam scenario at home
· Stay inside the grid given for each question
· If you struggle with a full question or part of a question, leave it behind and start the next part new. Do not let it affect your confidence or positivity,
· Write your answers in black/blue ballpoint pens not green, red or gel pens
· You can highlight or underline words and numbers in red/green pen if you like
· Do not write your answers in pencil. You can use a pencil to draw a graph or diagram. Make sure it is a heavy pencil though so it will appear when the paper is scanned in later
· If you have to go to the back page – Make clear which question you are continuing
- Talk the examiner through your exam paper
· Label all your graphs and diagrams well
· If it says ‘Use your graph for…’ You must put a marking on the graph, otherwise the examiner will have no way of knowing that you did actually use your graph
· Blanks on Paper = No Marks. Keep writing and keep attempting
· A really tough question will be tough for everyone so don’t lose hope
· If you cannot do part a and b of a question, don’t give up as part c and d will often allow you to start fresh. Start each question part with confidence as best you can.
· Often subbing in the correct value will give you the attempt mark
· Know the difference between an expression and an equation and what can be done to both i.e. You cannot cross multiply with an expression like x/6 + 2x/5. You can only cross multiply when you have an equals (an equation)
· The workings of your solution are more Important than the right answer.
· The Examiners want to give you marks (not take marks off you)
· The students who remain calm tend to do the best in Maths
· On the morning of the exam, Look at your proofs and constructions
· If you reach the end of the time on a question, move on. Don’t be stubborn looking for perfection. there may be a lovely question you like, and you may not get….
· If you run out of grid space for a specific question, write a quick note to examiner saying (‘Go to back please’). When you go to the back - rewrite the last line you just finished and do this carefully – this will lower the chances of you making a mistake by going straight to the next step of the solution
· If you fill up all the extra grid space at the back of the paper, ask the superintendent for more paper.
· To study Maths, put formula’s, keywords and keynotes into a hardback. Revise your notes and some content from you textbook. Then attempt a past exam question related to the topic you are studying.
· Over time, practice as many past questions as you can.. Check your answers against a good Solutions book that shows all the steps. It is important to have the full solution to all questions before you go and attempt them. Otherwise you will never know how accurate your attempts are.
· In order to get the 25 bonus points, you need to get 40% in Maths (H6) which is 240 marks out of 600 for the two papers combined. This will get you 46 +25 (bonus) points = 71 points.
· A H7 in higher level Maths (Over 30%) will get you 37 points, but not the bonus points. A H8 (Under 30%) will get you no points)
· Another idea is to attempt some past exam questions and get your friend to fairly mark them against the official solutions to the question that they have. You both will learn from this process.
· There is no such thing as rough work in Maths now – show all your workings in the main part of the answer book (inside the grid)
· I always encourage my student to draw a box around each answer and put ANS beside it. This makes it easier for the examiner to find and correct.
· To revise, do all the part (a) questions and then do the part (b) questions etc.. do this under time pressure – recreate the exam scenario at home… e-mail your solutions to a friend and ask them to correct it using the official marking scheme or a good solutions book. This will allow you to gauge exactly how you got on
· Focus on one topic each weekend
· With a few weeks to go do at least one/two past exam questions every day
· The students that do well read and identify whats being asked well.
· Always use a ruler for straight lines
· Know what basic instructions mean including: ‘Write down’, ‘Show’, ‘Explain’ ‘Plot’, ‘Sketch’, ‘Graph’, ‘Derive’ etc
· Make sure you go into a Maths exam with high energy levels
· Know your calculator really well and where all the buttons are. Replace it immediately if some of the buttons are not visible anymore – no tippex jobs
The Casio fx-83GTX is the best calculator.
· Know how to ‘Describe, Explain and Justify’ in Maths – these involve using words and English to explain something as you understand it
· Watch your writing and skip a line after each step
· If there was a question part that students didn’t do well in, the marking scheme will be changed to reflect this… example.. this question part could be reduced from 10 to 5 marks
· If something looks easy on the paper, it probably is. Don’t go looking for problems if they are not there. Move on to the next part.
· Use ‘Trial and Improvement’. Try a method and see how far from the answer you are. Try again and see can you get closer (Improve)
· Most students will not get 100% of everything right. Those who are perfectionist and are trying for too long trying to get an answer out will be the ones that will suffer. Stick to the time. The method more important than the answer
· If you have all the past questions done in your exam papers done from 2012 to 2020. Go into ‘Exam Material archive’ on examinations.ie and maybe print 3 or 4 papers again and re-do these questions. Stick to past exam questions instead of doing one created by a book company or past mock papers. Stick to Maths questions set up the State Exams Commission (SEC) only. You could also buy a second set of exam papers if you wish.
· I wouldn’t discuss answers after the exam as you could have got the answer wrong and most of the method right – picking up 7 or 8 out of 10 (High Partial Credit)
· It’s never too late to commence work, even if you haven’t put the maximum effort in so far.
‘Sail on the Seas of Ambition and land on the shores of Success’
Other relevant points of note
· Paper 2 material can come up on Paper 1 and vice versa – i.e. 2015/2017 Trig Functions appeared. Financial Maths appeared on P2 in 2018 even though it’s more of a P1 topic. A&V can appear on both.
· Do not scribble or tippex out any writing and make it unreadable. Draw a line through it and make sure it is readable – this could be worth marks and will be corrected.
· Always give your answer in the form requested in the question e.g. surd form
· Check your answer if you can by using calculator etc. If you think it is an unreasonable answer e.g. 5000m for the length of a building – it probably is wrong
· Only round off your answer at the very end of the sum. Retain as much of the decimal as you can through the question.
· Do not leave the exam early as you have been preparing for it for 5 years. Use every extra second to double check over work you have done.. Retype things into calculators, check you have subbed into formula’s properly etc
· Think back to when you were a child, you attempt everything, gave an answer and weren’t afraid to be wrong – Go into your Maths exam with this same attitude!!!!!!!
More details about Joe’s ACE Tuition (Maths and English) classes for Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate Students (2022), ACE Maths Assessments, and his Award winning ACE Maths Solution Books can be found via the links below. Be sure to pick up your copy today!