2nd Year Maths – Your Ultimate Guide

2nd Year Maths — What You Need to Know

My abiding memory of 2nd year was involved dealing with spots the size of craters on the moon. God, the trauma….

Teaching 2nd years for the last 13 years, I can tell you it’s the year most problems in Maths begin. The Maths standard is upped and students begin to either struggle or thrive.

I’m here to make this simple for you, as a parent. Here’s what you can expect in 2nd year.

The Wonderful CBA’s

The CBA’s (Continuous based assessments) begin in 2nd year. This causes dread and fear amongst a lot of students …. deadlines, worries around what to write on, worries around the quality of your Maths…….. it’s all very common. You are not alone.

But can I just say one thing — I love the CBA’s. I really do. They provide the only real opportunity in the school system to make Maths engaging. To relate Maths to the student’s personal interests. That’s powerful.

Now, how do you best go about the CBA’s? Well, the most important thing is to do your CBA on something that your child is actually interested in. Teachers can spot projects parents have completed. You can’t hide it.

Keep it simple. Pick a topic your child does activities in. Maybe it’s the local dance academy, drama society, farming, GAA… whatever…. but make sure it reflects your child’s interests. After that, just keep it simple. Keep the Maths really standard stuff, no need to go re-inventing the formula for relativity. Keep it structured and tidy – read over for spelling mistakes and make sure the diagrams are kept clean.

Keep it simple and fun — don’t overthink those CBA’s.

2nd Year Christmas Tests

In the intervening 12 to 13 weeks prior to the Christmas tests, all your child will really do is Algebra. That’s right — it’s all Algebra in most schools.

So, if you can get the Algebra right, you are well set. Make sure your child is OK on topics like Algebraic Division, Algebraic Fractions, Simultaneous Equations, Factorising and Algebraic word problems. Check out these notes for more help.

2nd Year Summer Tests

Summer tests in 2nd year are generally quite challenging. It’s often one of the big opportunity’s in school to differentiate your child into Higher and Ordinary level. So, be prepared — this exam will hard.

Now, what will come up? Well I can guarantee you that Algebra is still the foundation of the exam. You will also see a huge focus on Functions, Co-Ordinate Geometry and Financial Maths. And if your child has completed Trigonometry, then that’s a certainty too. Here’s a rundown of the overall Junior Cycle curriculum.

Listen, it’s all previous exam questions on this exam. Teachers won’t be making these questions up from thin air. If you want to get well-prepared, start working on exam questions from examinations.ie. Keep this simple.


2nd year is a key year in your Junior Cycle Maths program. Personally, I think the jump from 1st to 2nd year is huge now, after the introduction of the new Junior Cycle program. The CBA’s only account for 10% of your overall mark in the Junior Cycle – the standard 3rd year exam still covers 90% of your overall mark. But this will change in time. 1st, 2nd and 3rd year will all count towards your child’s overall grade.

That bit of extra pressure is good – it helps to focus your child. The more focus your child has, the better their Maths will become.

I hope that helps!

T.J — CEO of Breakthrough Maths.

Need help in Maths? Email the Breakthrough Maths team here.
You can also book a second year Maths grind here.

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