Here are five tips to help you get on top of your Maths study.
You cannot cram for Maths the night before an exam. Maths is about putting pen to paper – meaning lots of practise. In some subjects, memorising an essay might scrape you through – but with Maths, it is not about memorising a list of formulas and hoping for a pass. While there is certainly an involvement of memorising formulas, this won’t get you half way there as you need to understand how to apply these formulas. Unless you practise writing up solutions, you won’t get the marks to succeed in your exams. Some formulas have special restrictions or conditions, and there is no way you can memorise how to graph every single function! So pull out some pen and paper and begin practising!
The best students are the ones that not only have the most practise, but also have looked at a wide variety of questions. There is no point in doing all the ‘easy’ questions at the beginning of each topic – you have to strive through and persevere with the ‘harder’ or ‘challenging’ questions. Practising past HSC questions is always a must – and it’s the later questions in the exam that are going to differentiate the high achievers from the group. The more you are exposed to these difficult questions, the more familiar you will be and the more likely you will ace them in your exam.
You won’t get too far by just watching the teacher explain something on the board, or buying a large stack of text books. In order to do well in maths, you need to listen, understand, then apply the techniques yourself. Always pay attention to the examples that the teacher sets out for you – there are always tricks that exams try to place in maths exams to differentiate the students who have studied harder! Once you have learnt the techniques, apply them straight away – you will be amazed at how much quicker you will catch on by trying it yourself, and also it will stick in your mind much longer than if you sat back and let your teacher do all the work!
As soon as you learn to count, you have already entered into the world of maths – and yes, it is cumulative! Almost everything you do in a maths class will be built upon what you have done in previous years and topics. Most of the things that you learn as you progress in high school will be assumed knowledge for the year thereafter – so the key is to stay on top of your work and not fall behind. Falling behind in the earlier years means you are already on a shaky foundation for your later years of study.
Always look at what a question is asking you in a maths exam, and also the number of marks allocated to it. This will give you an indication of what type of answer and time is expected.
For example, if a question is worth one mark and you see yourself spending 5 minutes on it – move on! If another question is worth 5 marks and you show no working – you won’t score all the marks!
Neat writing is also a bonus – don’t give the marker a reason to be frustrated at you whilst they mark your exam. or give them an opportunity to not give you an extra mark because they can’t understand your writing or the logic behind your reasoning.
See some Tips For When You Sit HSC Exams.