The Beeb wrote an article on difference between Math exams for Chinese U entrance exams to UK 1st yr students, with example questions.
I think the maths examination can apply here in Ireland as well. Anyone doing the Leaving this year should try their hand at higher level maths from 1987. The leaving cert changed when I did it in in '94, even then, I could barely do the '87 maths questions. The standards of maths has been pushed down further and further.
People find Leaving maths hard now, just have a go with the '94 paper and then '87. You'll see a big difference.