Coming into senior school, with the huge jump in content, workload, and complexity, many students are left feeling overwhelmed…
Specifically, for those who choose to study Maths B and Maths C together, the sheer amount of mathematical practice and knowledge required can seem quite intimidating at first!
However, these subjects are very manageable with the right strategies! I’m here to reveal the 5 key strategies I employed in my senior year, which enabled me to achieve an A+ in Maths B and an A in Maths C.
1. Ask Questions
2. Weekly Revision
3. Developing a Good Relationship With Your Teacher
4. Learn From Your Mistakes
5. Learn How to Properly Show Working
1. Ask Questions
From grade 11 to grade 12 my grades in mathematics increased significantly and I attribute that primarily to asking more questions!
During grade 11, those who undertake two math subjects will generally underestimate the difficulty of the questions. This can often lead to students not asking questions or believing they could work through it on an exam but not actually attempt the question. This is what differentiates the A and B students.
A-achieving students aren’t always the ones who know the answer as soon as they look at a question, but they are the ones who always ask for help when they are stuck!
Asking questions is a vital part of maths as the questions you ask are specific to your learning and fill in the gaps.
An example of this strategy that still stands out to me today was during grade 12 Maths C (specialist maths) when we were studying conics. I was really struggling with this topic as sometimes I cannot visualise geometric shapes and patterns very well.
Rather than taking “I can figure it out myself” approach… I asked my teacher for help!
However, instead of just asking a question here and there, I asked him on a lesson basis and told him I didn’t really understand the content. He would explain questions to me 2 or 3 times before I understood them.
This desire to fully understand a concept was rewarded when I was given my exam results back. I received an A+ on it (the best I would do in the subject)!
The teachers are there to help so always ask questions regardless of how easy you may think the concept is! There is no such thing as a stupid question!
2. Weekly Revision
It’s very important to implement a regular revision schedule (particularly for maths)!
A lot of content is covered in a term or semester, so you must remain up to date with all the topics discussed to avoid cramming the night before an exam.
I found that the easiest way to do this was… at the end of each week, select a few questions from the chapters you have covered so far in the term to practice. If you struggle to answer a question, just spend a bit more time revising that topic.
However, in Maths C, I would suggest being more thorough with your weekly revision as the concepts are usually more complicated and require a deeper level of understanding!
To accomplish this, have a go at the more difficult problem-solving questions at least twice a week. This technique ensures the regular practice of all concepts and makes revision leading up to the exam much easier, less stressful, and more manageable!
3. Developing A Good Relationship With Your Teacher
Primarily, by building a good rapport with your teacher, you will improve your engagement in class, build your desire to learn, and feel comfortable enough to ask for assistance when required (which helps with strategy 1).
There are innumerable ways of achieving this, but I found the best way to develop rapport was:
- Show respect for the teacher and follow their rules!
- Listen actively!
- Show interest in the teachers themselves by asking general sociable questions!
Obviously, students will get along better with some teachers better than others but overall every relationship should be founded on mutual trust and respect! In this sense, you will do the right thing by the teacher and the teacher will do the right thing by you!
4. Learn From Your Mistakes
Many students nowadays are terrified of making mistakes, whether that be academically, socially or in other activities.
However, what most students don’t realise is that these mistakes provide invaluable learning resources!
While a mistake, such as a bad mark, might be intimidating, disappointing, and upsetting at first, it enables us to review where we went wrong, and learn from the experience.
Mistakes are a crucial part of learning! We all make them! For example, during my time in grade 11, I made many errors that led to disappointing marks in maths. Sometimes, I didn’t fully understand what the question was asking or had not included the right information.
However, by grade 12 I had rectified these mistakes and did not repeat them in the final exams which contributed to my OP.
Beyond exams, understanding what doesn’t work is just as valuable in the learning process, as knowing the correct method and solution!
As Thomas Edison said: “Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.”
Essentially, by making mistakes earlier on, you are less likely to repeat them in the future!
So, I encourage you to not be afraid to mess up every now and then as it allows your knowledge and awareness to grow.
5. Learn How To Properly Show Working
Like many other subjects, to do well and receive top marks, concepts in maths must be explained fully and coherently.
As any good maths teacher will tell you, it doesn’t matter if you got the answer right, it’s how you figured it out. In other words, have you shown the correct working? Below are the key reasons why ‘showing your working out’ is so important:
- Showing your work in an organised way helps you organise your thoughts, which in turn makes you less likely to make a mistake.
- When completing homework, usually you have answers available. If your answer doesn’t match the book’s answer, showing your work helps you figure out what you did wrong. It can also help a teacher figure out what you did wrong if you go for help.
- On tests, if you get a wrong answer your teacher can use your work to figure out what you didn’t understand and point it out so that you avoid that mistake in the future.
- On tests, if you get a wrong answer but your work shows you understood the core of the problem, most teachers will give you part marks.
To correctly practice showing your working I suggest the following techniques:
- Write down all the information you know (e.g. specific formulas relevant to the question, measurements, etc)!
- Define your variables!
- Include units!
- Once finished, ensure working flows smoothly and makes sense!
- Write your answer out in a sentence, so it is overtly clear!
- In Maths C ensure that working is concise (you might have to try a few different ways in problem-solving before it works).
So, there you have it… my equation for an A in maths! Using these 5 techniques as a foundation, success in maths is likely to ensue!
Also… remember to have confidence in yourself and your abilities!
However, if you do need that bit of an extra helping hand, feel free to contact one of our friendly staff at A Team Tuition on (p: 07 3154 6180) or fill out the contact form below.
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