Maths exam paper advice

April 19, 2016 admin No comments exist

Maths – What Do I Do?

Maths is a subject that not many students enjoy. It can throw up some of the most difficult questions you will encounter in the whole Junior Certificate. Without question, maths is a very challenging subject, but here at JC-Learn we are doing everything we can to make it that bit easier!

Exam Guidelines

The Junior Certificate Higher Level Math’s exam is split into two different papers: Paper one and paper two. Each of these exams is worth 300 marks each. Every question in the exam can be between 15 and 30 marks each. In the new project math’s course, the number of questions asked in each paper differs but generally around 11-14 questions are asked in each paper. Both papers are two and a half hours in length. In these exams, you will not be under immense time pressure as they are designed to be easily completed within the time frame.

What to Bring to the Exam?

You should bring the following things into the exam:

  • calculator
  •  black/blue pen and spares
  •  red and green pens
  •   pencil with sharpener and rubber
  •   a math set including a compass, ruler, protractor
  •   bottle of water
  •   a watch


On the exam paper, it gives you the recommended time for each question. This is useful but beware these are not strict guidelines and also leave you with 10 minutes at the end to read back over your answers. If you have well practiced and understand the math’s course these times given will be much more than sufficient even for someone who’s not that quick at math’s. This exam is a test of your ability in mathematics and problem solving not how quick you can do the questions. I strongly advise never leaving the exam hall early.

Overview of Questions

It can be difficult to give any one formatted overview of the questions asked as each year they differ widely. The goal of the project math’s course is to make you better at problem solving and real life mathematics. So instead it is important to just know the topics on either paper.

Paper 1 topics:

  • Algebra
  • Arithmetic
  • Functions
  • Number Patterns
  • Number Use
  • Sets
  • Time Speed and Distance

Paper 2 topics:

  • Area and Volume
  • Geometry
  • Probability
  • Statistics
  • The Line
  • Trigonometry
  • The proofs- always learn these by heart
  • Constructions – learn these by heart as well

Also, the number of marks of each question get are not given on the paper for a reason. A common myth is that the longer time its recommended for the question the more marks it is worth. This is false. The reason as the why the marks are not shown is because they are not yet actually decided. If a question is included and a large proportion of students do not answer correctly, they will lower the marks awarded for this question and also award higher marks for attempts. This is to assure that in and around 10% of the students that take the exam each year is awarded an A-grade.

Study Tips/Techniques

The best way to study for maths? This is an often thrown around a question and in reality, there are many different ways but from our experience, we have narrowed it down to a few highly time effective techniques to ace the exam.

Your Math’s revision should be one of the first subjects you revise in the year. I think everyone knows math’s is a skill which has to be learned throughout a space of time instead of cramming last minute. If there is one subject which isn’t compatible with cramming it’s maths. You can learn how to do every question in your textbook and know all the examples off by heart but how can you manage when a question you have never seen before hits you? It is essential to do the past exam questions throughout the year.

In order of what to do first this is a general plan on how to study for the exam:

  1. Use the notes section of this website to slowly work through the different topics. Refer to your text book as you do that topic and maybe practice a few questions there as well. Keep all your answers in a well-organized binder so you can look back on them throughout the year. Make sure you understand all the questions and how you got the answer.
  1. Next, after you have completed the topics you should be confident enough to attempt entire papers. It is advised that you’ve already reached this stage before the mocks. Use the papers on this site and then check them against the marking schemes. It is essential you keep all the answers to these so you can look back on them all.
  1. Find the topics you are least comfortable with in the weeks coming up to the exam and look through all the questions you didn’t get the first time and really try and understand the topic fully. Don’t forget to learn off all the proofs in the weeks coming up to the exam as it is nearly every year one of these gets asked.

After the mocks, you should be aiming to do anywhere between one or two papers a week so your fully comfortable with the layout and format of the exam questions. One of the last minute things to do is look at that year of supplementary and sample questions as often these provide hints on what kind of questions might come up.

If you need help with maths notes, exam answers or study advice, JC-Learn is an easy, cheap solution for you. It will guarantee you brilliant results, so sign up HERE.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *