We know that studying Maths Ext 1 can get difficult. That's why we asked a Matrix graduate who scored an ATAR of 99.95 to share their top 3 tips for acing Maths Ext 1.
Want to know what it takes to ace Maths Ext 1? In this article, former Matrix scholarship holder and 99.95 ATAR achiever, Chloe Beydoun, shares her Maths Ext 1 tips.
The Mathematics Extension 1 course is an extension of the skills and concepts developed in the 2U Mathematics course.
While both courses are taught simultaneously, it is important to remember that a mastery of the 2U course is very important for acing Maths Ext 1 and in most cases, the time you allocate to studying the latter will greatly improve your performance in the former.
Now that’s out of the way, here’s what you musts tart doing, now to ace Ext 1!
A quick skim through Maths Ext 1 past paper questions will remind you that a large proportion of what you will be tested on will be directly familiar to you from your standard textbook style exercises.
For this reason, it is important to approach new concepts in a pragmatic fashion, with the intention of understanding the concept in its entirety.
When you learn a new concept in Maths Ext 1, one of the first things you should aim to do is write a short summary of it.
Depending on the topic, this may look a little different. But, writing down a list of steps or approaches that you have been taught as the ‘standard’ will allow you to begin to envision what the thought process for the relevant questions will be.
This summary should also include one or two standard examples with full working out and annotations about what motivated each step.
These summary notes will also be a great revision tool when exam time comes around.
The next step is to complete the standard textbook-style questions.
In order to make the process more efficient, it is a good idea to attempt every second question or so for an exercise and then all of the latter, more interesting questions.
In addition to this, textbook exercises can be used to work towards strengthening exam technique by setting yourself strict time limits for each exercise.
The possible scope of questions for any given topic in Maths Ext 1 is relatively small, save for the last set of questions of exam papers. For this reason, it is a good strategy to compile notes as you learn the topic.
As you complete both textbook and past paper questions, you should consider noting down any common mistakes you are making, as well as the different variations of a question you have come across and not necessarily recognised.
Working as more than just an error log, these notes will allow you to quickly familiarise yourself with the common question types for each topic and the relevant strategies.
For the particularly difficult or unique questions which form the latter part of the paper, it is a good idea to write the question and solution in full in your notes so that you can always look back on and revise the new method.
Once you have mastered the foundations of each topic, the best practice is to slowly begin to expose yourself to as many past paper questions as possible.
Often students will wait until they have been taught a large portion of the Maths Ext 1 syllabus before attempting past papers.
However, this places a greater unnecessary pressure on you to complete a large stack of papers as trial and HSC exams approach.
It is unlikely you will exhaust all Maths past papers available online – remember that even though the syllabus has been updated, a lot of the conceptual foundations are almost identical and the Mathematics itself really does not differ.
A much more pragmatic approach would be to refer to past papers throughout the course of the year.
The process of skimming through past papers and identifying which questions you are able to attempt is as useful as actually completing the questions themselves.
This is because you are practicing your exam technique, specifically, your ability to identify the high yield questions in an exam scenario which you are confident attempting.
Second to this, you can attempt the relevant exam style questions for a topic early on. This makes the the transition from textbook to exam style questions a smaller leap since you complete past papers in full as you approach the end of the year.
Towards the end of the year, it is important to complete entire exam papers under strict timed conditions and in a quiet working space.
It is recommended that you focus on completing your school past paper questions first, as these will be most similar to what you can expect in your trial assessments.
Then it is ideal to expose yourself to different school trial questions, as this will often require the use of methods that may be unfamiliar to you.
Any errors you make in past paper questions should be added into the notes for the relevant topics as well as any interesting questions.
When you make an error, it is also important to reflect upon whether the mistake has arisen from a conceptual misunderstanding (in which case you should return back to the summary notes and textbook style questions), or whether it has been sourced from carelessness and a strict time limit.
When it comes to acing Maths Ext 1, a strong conceptual understanding, followed by balancing both speed and accuracy in exam scenarios is very important.
A consistent study approach and constant self-reflection is pivotal for improving your performance in the course.