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How to Revise: Financial Maths LCHL

Financial Maths is a frustrating topic on Paper 1.

Not because it is more difficult than Complex Numbers, or Calculus, or Algebra. It is frustrating because, similar to those other topics, there is a lot of work required to master it. HOWEVER, unlike those other topics, it is NOT A GUARANTEE to appear in the Leaving Cert each year! (See point 6 below for when and how it appeared in previous years).

This blog post highlights a few top tips that should help you prepare for Financial Maths.

Link to Module and Worksheet Preview

Download the worksheet (which corresponds to eLearning Modules (for students) and Powerpoint (for teachers).

The module can be found here:

WATERMARK Financial Maths
Download PDF • 11.34MB

Tips when Revising Financial Maths

  1. Sequences & Series

Worksheet: Pg 5

Powerpoint: Page 17-19

The reason Financial Maths doesn't appear every year, is because it is technically an application of Sequences & Series.

The Geometric Series is the key one to know. As you will see in the 4 Types of Financial Maths questions (Tip 3), every question you do will start off with a Geometric Series.

Top Tip: Always revise Sequences & Series BEFORE you revise Financial Maths. (Link to Seq. & Series Module on Tacit Maths)

2. Algebra (there's no escaping it...)

Worksheet: Everywhere

Powerpoint: " "

Regardless of the topic, the same point can be made: If your Algebra isn't strong, you will struggle here.

Most questions follow the following pattern:

Step 1: Identify the type of question.

Step 2: Create the Geometric Series.

Step 3: Solve using Algebra.

Unfortunately, Step 3 is where all the work happens.

The Algebra involved can range from simple linear equations, to Fractional equations to Log equations (see example above).

3. 4 Types of Questions

Worksheet: Page 6 - 10

Powerpoint: Page 20 - 49

As mentioned above, there are 4 Main type of questions.

These are:

Type 1: Savings/Investments (finding FUTURE Value)

Type 2: Savings/Investments (finding PRESENT Value or other)

Type 3: Pensions/Amortisation

Type 4: Loans & Mortgages

NB: The first challenge you face is identifying WHICH TYPE of question you are dealing with (this isn't always obvious).

The second challenge is coming up with a GEOMETRIC SERIES for this type of question.

4. Know Your Log Tables

Worksheet: Page 3

Powerpoint: Page 6 - 7

Some students think Log Tables are the solution to all of their problems. This is rarely the case.

But with Financial Maths, if you find remembering the 4 Types of Question (Tip 4) a bit confusing, then maybe this page in your log tables might help.

The formulas above (Compound Interest and Present Value) are what are used to form the Geometric Series for each question.

Also, you will notice that on the next page you have the Amortisation formula. This is the ONLY complete formula you are provided with in Financial Maths.

5. Deriving Formulas (Ughhh...!)

Worksheet: Page 11-12

Powerpoint: Page 56 - 62

Speaking of formulas...

Each of the "4 Types of Questions" has a formula.

Unfortunately, you can be asked to derive each of these questions.

They range in difficulty from Type 1 to Type 4.

Like all proofs, constructions, formulas etc., there is no easy way about learning these only hard work.

6. How/When they appear in the Leaving Cert

As mentioned above, the frustrating thing about Financial Maths is how it can be completely absent from the papers.

In general, it tends to come up in Paper 1.

It can come up as a Part A (25 Mark) or Part B (50 Mark) question, or as in 2018, a part (c) of a 50 Mark question in PAPER 2...!

Here is a list of when and how Financial Maths has appeared over the last 7 years of the Leaving Cert:

LC 2022: N/A

LC 2021: N/A

LC 2020: Question 5 (25 Mark Question)

LC 2019: N/A

LC 2018: Part (c) in Paper 2

LC 2017: Question 8 (55 Mark Question) including proof.

LC 2016: N/A

LC 2015: Q5 (25 Mark Question)

LC 2014 (Sample): Question 8 (50 Mark Question)

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