For many students, the O Levels Maths papers are rites of passage and trials by fire. Not only do you have to battle the crippling anxiety that comes when taking a nation-wide examination that could potentially decide your fate, you also have to be able to perform well under pressure and apply dozens of mind-boggling mathematical formulas, equations, and rules at a moments’ notice.
Now, before you crumble and throw in the blanket, take a deep breath. Stay calm and read the following five simple tips you will need to ace O Levels Maths!
- Know the syllabus
Believe me, numerous students head into the examination hall with a less than ideal understanding of the syllabus. This is unfortunate as knowing the syllabus and format of the two math papers is the first step towards unlocking success. If you are currently attending O Level Math tuition classes, be sure to check that the tuition teacher is following the latest syllabus. The failure to do so can be detrimental to your grades, as a tuition teacher with a less-than-ideal grasp of the latest syllabus might omit essential concepts that is critical to securing that high grade.
- Understand the requirements and standards
Take some time to familiarise yourself with the requirements and standards for achieving that perfect score. For instance, it is essential to write out the working and equations for each question, to show the examiner each step you took to attaining that result.
Other things to take note of include double-checking whether the question specifies that the final answer needs to be rounded up or down to a certain significant figure.
- Perfect the basics
In any good O Levels Math Tuition class, you will be told that the foundation of any high score in O Levels Maths is built upon a strong grasp of fundamental math concepts. This is especially important for this subject, given that more advanced concepts are still built upon a solid understanding of the fundamental mathematical basics.
For instance, learning about functions first will help in consolidating your understanding for more complex topics such as exponents or roots, and quadratic functions. Other fundamentals you should be familiar with include: equalities, inequalities, graphs; indices, surds; factoring polynomials; systems of equations; logarithms and exponentials; and straight-line graphs.
Any good tuition class and teacher will ensure that the basics are mastered before jumping into applying these concepts in more advanced questions.
- Make your own notes and cheat sheets
While your school may provide you with excellent notes, you will notice that it all adds up to chunky piles of paper. Frantically flipping through this pile will not be useful for a quick refresher the day or hour before your exam.
Instead, take some time to consolidate and distil the essence of your school notes into your own set of notes. Making your own notes also forces you to identify and work through your personal confusions regarding each concept. It can also be an incredibly fun exercise as you get to customise your own designs, colours, and layout.
In this regard, cheat sheets are also incredibly useful. Cheat sheets are short summaries of each subject, intending to aid your memory, and generally used as a refresher in the time prior to an examination. Compared to anxious flipping through dense notes with unnecessary information, these cheat sheets will be immensely useful in the minutes prior to the exam.
- Practice makes perfect
While this is an oft-used saying, there is truth to it. While you may dislike mathematics, you can still excel in the subject provided that you take the steps mentioned above and also, put in continuous effort and practice.
It is incredibly useful to practice past year O level Math papers, as this will not only suggest certain routine questions that pop up annually, but also help you familiarise yourself with the format and requirements.
It is good to mimic the exam conditions when practicing the past year papers. This includes finishing each paper in one sitting and under timed conditions, without referring to your notes or school materials. This will help you rigorously train for excelling even during exam conditions, and help you identify areas for improvement.
Moreover, during practice, remember to note down and identify the type of questions that you got wrong or had difficulties answering. Over time, you may notice that you are weaker in one topic compared to others and this will help to customise your revision schedule to strengthen your skills in topics you are generally weaker in.
While O Level Maths may appear intimidating, incorporating these five simple tips into your daily study and revision schedule will undoubtedly help to organise your revision, strengthen your weaker topics, and efficiently revise prior to an upcoming examination. If you need an extra helping hand with mastering this subject, considering O level Math Tuition courses might also be a viable option.
Stay strong, and keep an eye on this platform for more useful articles to ace your future examinations!