The Beginner’s Guide to Year 9 Maths

Welcome to our Beginner's Guide to year 9 Maths. In this Guide, we'll show you the secrets to acing Maths.

All about the Beginner’s Guide to Year 9 Maths

Year 9 is an important year for Maths students. The concepts and skills learned in Year 9 are the foundations for the skills for the senior years of high school. Falling behind in Year 9 can make it really hard to catch back up. The Beginner’s Guide to Year 9 Maths is your resource for staying on top.

We wrote the Beginner’s Guide to Year 9 Maths to help students learn and reinforce the core concepts they need to know for Year 9. Each article addresses the NESA syllabus Outcomes for the subject. These can be found here on the NESA website (Stage 5 is what students study in Years 9 & 10).

What’s in this Guide?

1. Algebraic Techniques and Equations

2. Inequalities

3. Indices

4. Surds

5. Surface area

6. Volume

7. Trigonometry

8. Simultaneous equations


How will this Guide help me?

  • As mentioned before, our goal in this guide is to build key foundations for students for their senior years.
  • Throughout each article, we’ve provided some worked examples so that you can see the application of the theory. We’ve also provided a number of questions for each subject. These will let you test your knowledge.
  • Finally, we’ve provided you with worked examples so that you can check your skills and understand your mistakes.
  • We examine the concepts behind the questions rather than pure calculations as we believe this will be beneficial to understanding mathematics rather than just a list of steps. This is the philosophy behind our Matrix method for Maths.
The Matrix Method for Maths is our proven process to ensure you develop knowledge and skills.
StepMatrix Method
1TheoryDeveloping a thorough understanding of concepts is the first step to mastering Maths. Learn from Matrix Theory Books that are carefully structured to help you understand even the most complex stuff!
2ApplicationMemorising formulas will only get you so far. Consolidate your understanding by learning how to apply concepts and techniques to solve problems.
3ExamplesWork through examples that will actually be in your exam. You’ll learn how to present your solution for maximum marks in exams.
4Concept ChecksLearn the most efficient problem solving techniques with different types of exam-style questions.
5WorkbookPractice sharpening your skills with hundreds of exam-style questions. It’s important to keep practising as this is the only way to find the right balance between speed and accuracy.
6Quiz and FeedbackWeekly quizzes and feedback provide you with opportunities to identify your gaps and address them ASAP.
7Topic TestWorking under exam conditions will boost your confidence for the real thing. Learn from your mistakes and fill your gaps so you are continually improving.

What are the common issues faced by Year 9 students?

There is a significant jump from Year 8 Maths to Year 9 Maths. Students may find it difficult to apply the concepts they learned in Year 8 to Year 9 because the level of Maths is much harder.

Some common problems that students face are:

  • Difficulty adding and subtracting two algebraic fractions

For example: Simplify \(\frac{a}{b}+\frac{b}{a}\)

A poor understanding of finding the Lowest Common Denominator would leave students unable to solve this question. In order to successfully solve the question, students must identify that both \(a\) and \(b\) must be in the denominator.

The correct answer would be \(\frac{a^2+b^2}{ab}\)

  • Difficulty converting numbers in small and large magnitude in scientific notation or across different units
  • Weak indices skills

For example: Simplify \(4^x\times4^y\)

Many students forget that about their index laws where if the bases are the same we add the powers. They make the mistake of multiplying the bases and adding the powers, ending up with the answer \(16^{x+y}\).

The correct answer is actually \(4^{x+y}\)

  • Poor understanding of straight line equations in different forms
  • Not knowing how to sketch simple linear relationships
  • Poor understanding of Highest Common Factor and Lowest Common Multiple
  • Unable to factorise algebraic expressions
  • Difficulty converting between smaller metric units
  • Limits of accuracy
  • Expanding binomial products involving surds


Why do students struggle with Maths in Year 9?

We’ve learned that many students struggle with Maths in year 9 because they take the wrong approach to learning and study. Here are some of the reasons that students have difficulty:

  • 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 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.


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.

First up, we’re going to discuss algebra and algebraic equations.

© Matrix Education and, 2023. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matrix Education and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Related courses