How to Get an A in General Maths: 6 Tips to Get Good at Maths
General Maths (previously Maths A) is underrated in its difficulty. Whilst being one of the lower levels of maths you can do at school, it still requires a considerable knowledge of content. Most importantly, students need the ability to apply that knowledge to difficult situations. With practice, the right stratgies, and determination, anyone can become successful in general maths. This article aims to give you the best possible tips about improving your marks.
What Is General Mathematics?
General Mathematics is a subject in the Australian Curriculum that is designed to provide students with mathematical skills and knowledge required for everyday life and future studies. It covers a broad range of topics including algebra, functions, geometry, trigonometry, statistics, and probability. The course is typically taken by students in their senior years of high school who do not intend to pursue advanced mathematical studies in university.
Is General Mathematics Hard?
The difficulty of General Mathematics varies depending on your own stengths, as well as the effort put into studying and reviewing the content. Generally speaking, General Mathematics is designed to be accessible to a range of students and is considered to be less difficult than both Mathematical Methods or Specialist Mathematics. However, this does not mean that General Mathematics is easy or requires little effort.
Advanced vs General Maths?
Students who are enjoy maths or find maths intersted, or have a desire to pursue studies in fileds such as maths, science or engenering would usualy be a better fir for Advanced Maths, which is a bit more rigorous and covers different content to General Maths. General Maths is more sutable for students who want to develop maths skills that are appliciable in day to day life and for students looking to pursue humanities, social sciences or business in their future.
How to Be Good at Maths: 6 Tips to Get an A
1. Don’t bludge, Maths A is hard. Get ahead from the start!
Too many times I hear this from students who aren’t taking the subject serious enough. The reality is that any subject you take at school is going to impact both your OP and your options going forward, so the best time to get in good habits is early on.
In addition, Maths is a subject that builds upon the skills you learn earlier in the year. If you don’t know a concept and you get another topic added on top of it, all of a sudden you’re revising 2 things.
Get ahead of the game. Know the topics that you’re going to do, even if it’s only their name, and do a Google search if you can’t access any notes. Get to know when the skills are useful and contextualise them for yourself. Get involved in class and ask those questions. The more passionate you get early, the less work you’ll leave for yourself at the end. You’ll no longer be catching up – you’ll be flying ahead of the rest.
Trust me, you’ll thank yourself in Term 4 when the big decisions are looming.
2. Maths is another language – learn it
One of the first things I do with my students in tutoring is make a Maths glossary.
The advantages of this are simple: They not only give people a reference point for different mathematical terms, but glossaries also store most of the core concepts a student learns in one place. This is especially useful for topics like financial maths, statistics, and coordinate geometry, which uses a few different ideas and concepts.
If someone asks you to find the mode but you find the median, or someone asks you to find the equation of the tangent to the curve and you find some arbitrary equation by fiddling around with numbers, it shows a lack of knowledge and you will be marked down.
See? Even that sentence alone features around 5 or 6 different terms that you must know inside out!
You need to be confident with what each different term means, and what you need to do to get to those different values.
For example, if you don’t know how to get to a gradient in coordinate geometry, how can you get to know the formula of the line on which 2 points are? How can you calculate the equation of a line parallel to that line going through another 2 points?
If you don’t know your mathematical language, that sentence makes no sense. It’s simple maths to do, but knowing the names of the processes you’re doing and knowing when to carry out those processes is the key to mathematics.
We’ll touch on the processing side of things a little later. For now, know your terms!
3. Practice questions – you need to do them but you also need to do them well
There’s 3 general methods that people try when they’re doing practice questions. The first 2 I’m going to describe are ineffective, the last one is the most effective and we’ll explain the pros and cons along the way.
- Reading the question, thinking “that’s easy” as you look at their explanation of the answer, and then simply writing down the answer.
Actually doing the question is a key part of practice questions. If you don’t do the question in its entirety during practice, you teach your brain only to acknowledge the cheat answer, not the actual practice. Exams and assignments don’t have answer sheets – in an exam, this method will bite you in the back.
- Writing out the question and answers completely
Now, that may surprise you – you may believe that Method 2 is, technically, the perfect thing to do. It is – if you’d like a C or a B grade. It helps your brain to an answer in an exam, and qualms some of the worries and concerns about weird number, odd decimal places, and so on. However, it is is not the optimal method.
So, what is?
- Write out the question, do the working out, write the answer, and cross analyse.
It may not sound like much of a difference, but doing analysis of your work is absolutely crucial towards getting an A in General Maths. Complete your questions, practice it yourself, and then analyse your method against that of the textbook, or teacher’s, or your tutors. If you make mistakes, look over your working, and have an educational advisory (aka your tutor or teacher) who can show you where you went wrong.
Then, write out the entire question again.
This allows your brain to commit it to memory. You want to make sure you learn from every mistake, so as to apply the proper process to any similar questions.
Only by doing this method do you use practice questions to your full advantage.
4. Practice Mindfully
Doing practice exams and questions sounds like a drag – and, I won’t lie, sometimes it is.
What you want to do is challenge your brain as much as possible, but not burn out. Practice can often bring on brain fatigue, and eventually force people to stare into space or mindlessly scroll through their Facebook feeds.
My solution is to be smart about what and when you study.
Even if I’m tired after university, and don’t feel like studying, I make sure to do little mundane tasks that I know need to be done. They’re often things that can be done quite mindlessly – for example, writing out notes, doing simple knowledge questions (like drawing graphs or putting values in a table), or completing easy homework sheets. This just helps to keep my brain active, and actually gets the small things out of the way easily!
It’s up to you to identify what helps you best prepare, and do little seemingly useless things to help make your work interesting for you. If you’re finding it difficult to do this, get help from A Team Tuition! Our tutors are trained specifically to help you adapt your learning to your interests, learning language, and personal style.
The key message from this paragraph is to study with what you like, when you like, and where you like – you’ll find that it will cause you to want to study, rather than having it be a chore.
5. Master the Calculator (in your head)
If you can’t add, multiply, divide and subtract quickly and without a calculator, you are wasting valuable seconds per question in an exam punching numbers into a machine.
Try to relearn your multiplication tables alongside school work. You’ll start to notice your in-school skills improve because you now can do the arithmetic that you were doing on your fingers, or in the calculator in your head. This means you have more time to actually study the question and process that is required of you.
In addition (pun intended), your confidence in General Maths goes through the roof when you know that you can do the multiplication that you struggled with initially, and it makes the subject a lot less stressful.
Other skills that need to be up to scratch are using a ruler, using a compass, the conversions of time (hours to seconds), distance (kilometres through to centimetres), and speed (km/h to m/s).
Don’t forget calculator skills themselves! That seems redundant, but if you know how to use your calculator, you’ll be able to get to answers that involve complex processes quicker. You especially want to know how the memory function works, as you can use that in multi stage questions.
Everyone’s calculator is different, so ask your teacher to teach you, or ask someone with the same calculator how they do it. It will help you in the long run.
6. Errors are your best friend – learn from them
Getting something wrong should be acknowledged as the greatest way to learn.
There’s no greater motivator than the sudden realisation that you’ve made a mistake, and the knowledge that you need to work even harder to get back on top of work. People can scramble like their life depends on it in these situations.
I personally believe that mistakes should motivate you through the journey of General Maths
Let it be known: you will make mistakes, and it will be different for everyone. Some people will make the mistake of being overconfident as I alluded to earlier; some people will make the mistake of leaving an assignment too late; and you all will get numerous questions wrong.
My advice is to learn from the mistakes, and never make the same mistakes twice! You need to put safeguards against your previous mistake. These safeguards could be simply starting an assignment a week earlier next time, or doing work every week for the assignment as opposed to only for the week you start it and the week you hand it in.
Write down these safeguards and put them in a place where you’re going to see them daily. Make them a goal to achieve! Having them down on paper will prove beyond helpful.
Most importantly, develop a mindset that accepts mistakes. It is impossible to not make mistakes – therefore, focus on what is possible: learning how to analyse, assess, and improve on your mistakes. It’s a skill that will not only influence your Maths A journey, but your whole life to come.
Still Wondering How to Be Good at Maths?
From memorizing functions and terms to understanding how different parts of formulas work together, General Maths can be a challenging subject to study, let alone become goot at it and get A’s. But don’t fear! There is always help when needed, specifically in the form of a tutor.
If you’re struggling to get the grade you want in General Maths this term, a private tutor might be right for you – and A Team Tuition is here to help. Our tried and true tutoring methods can help you improve in any subject with at-home and online tutoring. Find a general maths tutor near you today!