Beginner’s Guide to Year 8 Maths

How is High School Maths going? The Matrix Beginner's Guide to year 8 Maths will help you get on top of things... and STAY there!

All about The Beginner’s Guide to Year 8 Maths

After the dust has settled after Year 7, Year 8 offers students the chance to take stock of their progress and understand their strengths and weaknesses. Year 8 is an essential stage of Mathematical learning for you to acquire and consolidate the rest of the foundations for High School Maths.

It’s important to remember that Year 8 is when schools start filtering students into different Maths streams. Performing poorly in Year 8, or failing to demonstrate mastery of the basics, could condemn you to a lower stream. This Beginner’s Guide to Year 8 Maths is your resource for ensuring you are on track.

Before you can excel in Year 8 Maths, you must master the understanding of topics. But don’t worry, developing a strong understanding of the theory is the first step in our Matrix Method for MathsTM .

beginner's guide to year 9 maths-overview-theory-banner
We’ve perfected this method for teaching Maths over the last 19 years.

What’s in this Guide?

In this Guide, we will break down and guide you through the core concepts of Year 8 Maths:

  • Indices
  • Introduction to Linear Relationships
  • Properties of Linear Relations
  • The Co-ordinate Plane
  • Rates and ratios
  • Planar transformations
  • Volume and Capacity
  • Similarity

Each article addresses the NESA Syllabus Outcomes for the subject. These can be found here on the NESA website (Years 7 & 8 are known as Stage 4).


What are the common issues faced by Year 8 Maths students?

Students may struggle to acquire and implement the content they learned last year in Year 7 because it still feels like a big leap from Primary.

Some common problems that students face are:

  • Weak understanding of the index laws and not knowing how it’s derived from algebraic techniques
  • Lack of familiarity with advanced volume and capacity questions
  • Poor understanding of the conversion of units between volume and capacity
  • Lack of understanding of the “unitary method” and applying it in ratio and rates questions
  • Not knowing how to sketch simple linear relationships
  • Lack of understanding with the difference between “Reflection”, “Translation”, and “Rotation”
  • Unable to use the transformations of two-dimensional figures and apply them in congruency questions
  • Poor understanding of the coordinate plane and finding the midpoint, distance and gradient of a line between coordinates
  • Lack of understanding between the properties of geometrical figures
  • Unable to use the knowledge of geometrical figures to solve similarity problems

Why do students struggle with Maths in Year 8?

We’ve learned that many students struggle with Maths in Year 8 because they approach learning and study in the wrong manner. These are some of the reasons students struggle:

  • Students do not understand the basics of algebra – Instead, they rote learn methods for specific types of questions. For them, Mathematics becomes memory work instead of a logical puzzle game.
  • Students do not dedicate enough practice time to work on various types of questions – They may be actively involved in extra-curricular activities which make it harder to spend time working on Maths. When these students encounter unseen questions, they have no idea how to approach them.
  • Students do not have the patience for figuring out each question before referring to the solution for working steps – This means the essence of that question, and its learning opportunities, are lost through ‘referring’ to the solution.
  • Students underestimate the application of Mathematics in everyday life – Just because many topics in Mathematics are not utilized in day-to-day activities does not mean Mathematics is useless. By being exposed to different types of questions continually, this develops your problem-solving skills which will be helpful in the future.
  • Students have a lack of commitment towards their homework – Sometimes, students put off their homework because they are busy, don’t enjoy it, or just don’t see the importance of it. It is crucial that students develop a good habit of finishing their homework early because this gives them a chance to practice and refine their skills.
  • Students struggle to understand the specific language used – Students begin to lose motivation when they don’t understand what is going on. You can’t solve a problem if you don’t understand what it means. This is why it is important that students fully understand the definitions of mathematical terms.


What is the process I should use when I study Maths?

You don’t really understand a topic unless you can teach it to somebody else. This is especially true for Maths.

Mastering Maths is a systematic process that begins with understanding the theory of each concept.

We’ve helped thousands of students over the past 19 years by following this method:

The Matrix Method for Maths


  1. Theory – Developing a thorough understanding of mathematical concepts is the first step to mastering Maths. Learn from Matrix Theory Books. They are carefully structured to help you understand even the most complex stuff!
  2. Application – Memorising formulas will only get you so far. Consolidate your understanding by learning how to apply concepts and techniques to solve problems.
  3. Examples – Work through examples that will actually be in your exam. You’ll learn how to present your solution for maximum marks in exams.
  4. Concept Checks – Learn the most efficient problem-solving techniques with different types of exam-style questions.
  5. Workbook – Sharpen your skills with hundreds of exam-style questions. It’s important to keep practising as this is the only way you can find the right balance between speed and accuracy.
  6. Quizzes and Feedback – Weekly quizzes and feedback provide you with opportunities to identify your gaps and address them ASAP.
  7. Topic Test – Working under exam conditions will boost your confidence for the real thing. Learn from your mistakes and fill your gaps so you are continually improving.


How will this Guide help me ace Year 8 Maths?

In this guide, we’ll explain the theory in each article and then show you how to apply it.

We’ve provided some worked examples at the end of each article so that you can see the application of the theory.

You can also check your knowledge with checkpoint questions for each subject. These will let you test your skills.

So that you can check your skills and understand your mistakes, we’ve included the worked solutions.


What should I do to improve my marks in Maths?

If you want to improve your marks in Maths, you must be methodical in your approach. You’ll see improvements in your marks if you follow the step-by-step process for studying Maths.


Develop your understanding and skills in Maths

Now it is time to familiarise yourself with the content of this Guide. This is a resource that you should come back to consistently as you encounter the subjects at school during the year.

Let’s start with Indices!

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