Subject Group: Science
These subjects demonstrate how to explore nature using carefully planned methods, and teach the basic methods and findings of scientific investigation.
What is Applied Maths?
Applied Maths is, as its name suggests, the study of practical applications of mathematics to the real world and physical problems. It is typically associated with engineering and physics, but also finds use in economics, finance, business, environmental studies, and even chemistry and medicine. The Applied Mathematics course at Leaving Certificate would be called 'Theoretical Mechanics' or 'Mathematical Physics' in third level education, and it is one of many branches of the more general field of Applied Mathematics.
The course essentially covers the mathematics behind the behaviour of objects when placed in various situations, such as being thrown as projectiles, bounced off walls or other objects, immersed in fluids, or swung around on a rope. There are 10 questions on the exam paper, each covering one of these topics in detail. However, the exam only requires the student to complete six questions, so it is not uncommon for teachers to focus on six or seven topics, which makes the course and workload more manageable.
The course tends to avoid theory-heavy questions (such as proofs and manipulating formulae) which are found on the Mathematics paper, instead offering practical problems with numerical solutions, such as computing the volume of fluid in a container, or finding the optimal angle to throw a projectile at so that it will travel as far as possible. As a result, Applied Maths is excellent for developing strong problem solving skills, which are very valuable for future employment.
View resources from Engineers Ireland (STEPS) relating to Leaving Cert Applied Maths here
What kind of student might Applied Maths suit?
Students considering a career in any area of Engineering, Science, Information Technology, Business, Finance, Architecture or Education.
Students who are studying Leaving Cert. higher level Maths. This course also helps students studying Physics, due to some overlap in the course content.
Students who need high entry points to get into university. On average over the past 3 years, 27% of the roughly 1280 students who sat the higher level examination each year received a grade A1 or A2. Aside from niche languages such as Latin, Russian, and Japanese, this means that Applied Maths has the highest A percentage in the Leaving Cert.
Why might you choose Applied Maths?
If you are are getting A or B grades in Maths and Physics, you should be capable of getting similar grades in Applied Maths thus enabling you to increase your points in the Leaving Cert.
There is overlap between some parts of the Leaving Cert Physics course and the Applied Maths course, such as Linear Motion, Newton’s Laws, and Circular Motion. Thus it will also help you have a deeper understanding of these topics in Physics.
As there is a high Maths content in the course it will also give you a better understanding of some parts of the Honours Maths course – especially Trigonometry, Calculus (Differentiation and Integration) and Vectors.
It is ideal for students who may be weak at other subjects (such as languages) and good at Maths as they can do honours Applied Maths to increase their points .
It is very possible to cover the whole course in one year if a student is committed. Thus if you are starting Leaving Cert year, it is not too late to start.
If you are considering studying any kind of engineering in college, Applied Maths is very important – all engineering students have to study Applied Maths in first year in college and you will have a head start if you have the Leaving Cert course done.
Third Level Entry Requirements
This subject is not an essential requirement for any courses in the CAO system.
Data Sources: The information on these pages has been compiled from a variety of sources including the NCCA, Newbridge College / Brian Howard, Dept. of Education & Skills, and student interviews. Information in the 'People who took this subject' section reflects the views of those people interviewed on this website and is offered as informal and potentially useful information only.
While CareersPortal.ie attempts to keep this information as up to date and accurate as possible, we do not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of this information or decisions made on the basis of this information. Students should always discuss subject options with parents / guardians / guidance counsellors..
For my Leaving Cert. I took Maths - higher, Applied Maths - higher, Physics - higher, Chemistry - higher, Music - higher, English - higher, German - higher, Irish - ordinary As you can see my abilities and interests were more in the maths+science sphere than anything else.
I was very lucky that at the time Mt. Temple had very capable maths+science teachers, which certainly made things easier for me. To be honest, in school I didn't really think about 3rd level or careers or anything until I was in 6th year (by which stage I'd already picked my subjects). I just picked the subjects I enjoyed and felt I had a natural knack for.
For the career I'm in now I don't think I could have picked better school subjects. It might have helped me to know a bit more about business-related subjects, but I had no interest in accountancy or commerce at the time.
I am considering taking an evening course in the legal+financial aspects to running a business to make up for this. However, as a teenager I think I was better off studying subjects that I had a genuine interest in, otherwise I would have found it very hard to motivate myself to study.
I took Chemistry, Physics, Applied Maths, Technical drawing and French. It then seemed pretty natural to choose engineering in college.
If I could choose again I may have chosen something more business orientated like finance or economics.
Subjects I look were Chemistry, Technical Drawing, Business Studies and German for my Leaving Cert. All of which I have used since and believe it or not business aspects including accounting are an integral part of engineering
I would say that Physics and Applied Maths would have come in very useful as it was tough entering an Engineering Degree without having either of these.
In secondary school I studied physics, and I did applied maths after school hours as an extra subject. This was perfect for me, as I was good at math subjects, but rubbish at languages, so the applied maths compensated for the bad grades I got in Irish and German.
The best advice I can give about choosing subjects is to pick the ones that you find most interesting. If you do that, and then do likewise in college, you're far more likely to end up in a subject-area that you are actually interested in
The subjects I did in school didn't help much with my career path. The only subject I did do that was useful to me career was honours maths. As I didn't have the required subjects to get into my desired course, I did an extra year - a bridging year - Preliminary Engineering.
There are always other ways to get into courses so if you have your heart set on engineering but don't have the required subjects, look into courses like Preliminary Engineering or other bridging courses. If you haven't chosen your leaving cert subjects yet, some of the subjects that will assist you in an engineering degree is honours maths, physics, chemistry and mechanics/applied maths.
We had no Physics, Chemistry and other technical subjects in the school I attended, which would have been useful for my career development. I did however have the opportunitiy to study Honours Maths in preparation for my current career.
In hindsight I would have looked for the opportunitiy to at least study Applied Maths, which would have made it easier to go through first year in college.
I am delighted I went to UCD, where it was possible to do one common year before choosing the Engineering discipline.
I did the following subjects for my Leaving Cert: Irish, English, Maths, French, Physics, Chemistry, Accounting and Applied Maths.
When choosing my subjects in 5th year in School I deliberately ensured that I did at least one business and one science subject because this gave me more flexibility in my choice of courses. I would recommend this strategy - particularly for those who aren't sure what they wish to study in college.
In hindsight, I am happy to say I wouldn't have done anything differently to date! In my Junior Cert I did 9 subjects ; Maths, Irish, English, History, Geography, Science, Business Studies, French and Tech Graphics. I liked Languages and history the least. I won't lie, Maths, Geography, and Tech Graphics were the ones I enjoyed the most.
When I was choosing for my leaving Cert I still hadn't decided what I would do when I was finished. I was thinking of Engineering, Teaching or Physiotherapy. I wanted to leave my options open. To do physio you need a language (to get in to UCD) and 2 science subjects. I decided to do Maths, Irish, English, French, Geography, Physics and Chemistry for my leaving. That left all the options open.
I was good at Business Studies, but after looking at courses in college, I discovered you don't usually need a business subject to get into a business course. This is not the case for Science based courses. In 6th year I took up Applied Maths. Since I was doing Physics and Maths I had a good background for the subject. Twenty classes and just homework, and I got an honour. If anyone was to ask me if they should do it, if you like maths, its a great subject!