Monthly Archives: September 2013

Should I stay or should I leave Higher maths?

Many 4th/5th year students because of pressure from teachers and schools are wondering if they should stay in H maths or take the easier option and go to Ordinary level.

They are being told

(i) We will be having a test at midterm and if you do not get 50% or better you should consider Ordinary level.

(ii)If you did not get an A or a B in the Junior cert maths you will not be able for Higher LCert.

(iii)If you do not change soon you will not be able  to catch up with Ordinary level.

(iv)Higher maths requires at least 4 hours study per night for 3 years.

What they are not telling you.

(i)The failure rate in Higher maths is 3% (97% pass ) . (If you were in a queue for a night club and you are told there is a 97% chance of getting in would you leave the queue?). Do not give up H maths unless you want to .

(ii)The  average A,B,C  rate for the last 3 years is 80% .That is on average 80% of the students who did H maths  receiced a C or better !

(iii)The new project maths course is easy and is marked very generously (low partial credit).In 2013 if you attempted every question  but got nothing right, receiving  just the low partial credit for each question you would have received 42%.

(iv)Students who received a C in the Junior cert should at least try H maths it may not be for all of you but many will get a C in the LC.

(v)Higher maths does not require 4 hours study every night .The topics should be explained properly in class and carefully chosen home work of no more than 3 or 4 questions should be given. Too many students are being given too much home work which in many cases is never corrected or explained by their teacher. But it is important that you do not fall behind if you do not understand something keep asking questions until you do.

(vi)Higher maths does require a good knowledge of Algebra (If your algebra is good your maths will be good).

(vi)The syllabus has come in for  much deserved critism in the way it was introduced but it is now settled (we hope) and the layout  and content of Paper 1 and Paper 2 is well knowm. There is still far too much rote learning required but hopefully this will change.There should be no surprises in the future. Another reason to stay in H maths.


(vii) The amount of English (as a result of the controversary in 2012 when project maths was referred to as the 3rd English paper ) has been reduced (down by 21%) as a result the 2013 papers were very similiar to the Pre project maths exam (good news).

(viii)Any higher level student dropping to ordinary will have no problem catching up with the Ordinary level course no matter how late they decide to switch courses. Therefore do not pay any attention to people say if you do not change soon you will not be able to catch up or that the course is very different.

Therefore if you are a student or a concerned parent the advise is to stay in H maths at least for 4th and 5th year and only give up when the writing is all over the wall!


Dublin Grinds School Price Comparison


Class length

Ballinteer Institute

90 mins

Institute of Education

90 mins

Ashfield College

75 mins


75 mins (at most)

1 subject



Cost/ hour


45 hours*




43.5 hours*




35 hours*




43.75 hours*



Verdict Best Value 47% more expensive 32% more expensive 33.3% more expensive
Term Sept-Dec1 subject €300

(18 hours)

Cost/hour €16.70*

N/A N/A €375

(18.75 hours)

Cost/hour €20*

20% more expensive

*Based on school websites Sept. 2013

Verdict based on hourly rate Ballinteer Institute is best Value at €15 per hour!