Junior Cycle - Ordinary Level

Tips for Students

You will use Maths every day for the rest of your life. Maths is wonderful. Maths is useful. Maths makes sense. Maths can be challenging. But just because it can be hard doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t love it!

First year maths is very important. You will meet negative numbers and algebra. If you stumble here, you’ll be stumbling for life – so ask lots of questions if you don’t understand. It’s your teacher’s job to explain. Keep asking until you understand.

Don’t let anybody tell you that Maths is a natural gift and cannot be taught. It’s true that some people are more naturally interested in maths than others. In the same way, some like Art and can draw better than others. But Maths can be learnt by EVERYONE. It might take more effort and more time – but everyone can learn Maths.

Do your homework well. Maths is a fantastic subject: your teacher explains the ideas and shows you how to carry out tasks – and then you are given homework to see if you can do such tasks for yourself. This is called homework. If you find a problem challenging, don’t give up easily. Keep at it, ask advice, ask the family, ask the brainbox of the class – but do NOT say, “This sum is too hard for me!”

One of the most common mistakes is mixing up addition and multiplication. So, if you are asked 2X2X2 is the answer 6 or 8?

If you don’t know your addition and multiplication tables then NOW is the time to learn them. Do you know 6X9? What about 11X11? Are you sure of your answer when you’re asked 7X8? And what about 12X9? You will be unsure all your life if you don’t set about learning them now. Start with 2. Ask a parent to test you. Move on to 3 the next day. Keep at it until you know your multiplication tables up to 12X12. It’ll ll be worth it and give you added confidence.

It’s a good idea to play games that have an element of Maths. Sudoku appears every day in the newspapers and involves numbers, logic and thinking. Monopoly is another good example, with dice, chances, money, etc. Yahtzee is brilliant: it involves dice and tactics based on logic. In Scrabble, you have double letter scores and triple word scores – more Maths! Lots of card games involve Maths: poker and bridge involve probability. Chess is also based on tactics, logic and prediction. Get the family to play. It’ll be fun.