JC Maths Tutors – H1/H2 Maths, 5 Effective Tips to Scoring Well
Mathematics – a prerequisite and integrated component in all aspects of our lives that one cannot avoid, no matter how major or trivial. The demand for Junior College (JC) Maths Tuition has been soaring as students struggle to master the subject. This article aims to help students score well with 5 effective tips given from our top JC Maths tutors.
H1/H2 Maths are one of the core subjects of the Singapore A Level examinations, and almost all students have opted to take this as part of their subject combination, with the exception of a small percentage. Singapore boasts a global reputation for our students’ excellent Maths results and incredible levels of competency in Maths in our education system. While other countries are adopting our Singaporean Maths programs, our students are continuously challenged with rising difficulties of questions, leaving some completely dumbfounded even at Primary Level.
It is no wonder that a poll conducted by The Straits Times revealed that 85% of students started to have tuition even before entering their upper primary years, and even more notably – Maths being the #1 subject of interest. Judging from this trend, one can only note on the difficulty of the A Level Maths paper and how much JC Maths tuition is in demand. The A Level H1/H2 Maths syllabus is no longer just about drilling like at the O Levels. While many lose marks from carelessness at the O Levels, the marks lost at the A Levels are predominantly due to students’ inabilities get their concepts clear in the first place. As with the number of topics, the difficulty of the concepts covered for JC Maths have taken a great leap, and demands an actual deep understanding about the subject itself to score well. Here are 5 tips to ensure that students score well to the best of their ability!
1. H1, H2 or H3 Maths, “Which Level Please?”
Choosing the right standard of Mathematics at the start of your JC life is crucial to pave the way for a smooth journey towards the A Levels. The JC Maths subject is offered in 3 standards or “levels” – H1, H2 or H3, with H1 and H3 being the most basic and most advanced levels respectively. The 2 most common levels are:
– H1 Maths, consisting of one 3 Hour paper – covering a mix of Pure Maths (60 marks) and Statistics (40 marks) questions,
– H2 Maths, consisting of two 3 Hour papers – Paper 1 covering Pure Maths (100 marks), Paper 2 covering a mix of Pure Maths (40 marks) and Statistics (60 marks) questions.
H1 Maths teaches a lot about Graphs, Statistics and Calculus, and some might even argue that a big portion of concepts is just a little more advanced recap of the O Level A Maths syllabus. Meanwhile, H2 Maths is a whole new game-changer. The topics covered are plentiful, very new and unfamiliar, and require a lot more in-depth and higher-order thinking. H1 Maths is definitely heard to be a lot more manageable, especially for weaker Maths students.
The majority of the JC student population takes H2 Maths, but that does not mean that you should follow suit. JC Maths tutors advise that selecting which level to take is important before you can even begin to plan on how to score for the subject. First, there has to be an end-goal in mind – seek to understand what course and university you intend to be enrolled in. If you are looking at Medicine or Science/Maths-related courses, H2 Maths would be the option to go for. Not only would you be needing the knowledge of the H2 concepts to help you tackle the modules throughout your degree course, “H2 Maths” (and a good accompanying grade) needs to be written on your A Level certificate for you to even be considered as a candidate in the course itself. Not only will the H2 syllabus train you to handle the advanced levels of computations in the uni course of your choice, it is most probably a requirement of the courses mentioned above (Eg. Requirements from the NUS Faculty of Science). On the other hand, if you are aiming for the Humanities or Social Sciences, H1 Maths would probably be enough to get you through. Of course, there are some who are very sure that their courses would not require the undertaking or understanding of the A Level Maths syllabus, and thus choose not to take it up. However, fact is – it would be difficult to avoid Maths, eg. a Psychology student would still need to pull together some statistics – the fundamentals of data analysis learnt in H1 Maths would be very useful for them to come up with necessary trends to help with their research papers. Therefore, to sum it up, always be sure of what is needed to reach your end-goal before making the decision on which level of JC Maths to take, or even to take it up at all.
If you are a struggling O Level Maths student planning ahead for your JC subjects, JC Maths tutors would recommend that it is paramount that you build your Secondary foundation before the bigger cloud of Maths confusion comes looming over in JC. (Click here to engage an O Level Maths tutor). Another piece of advice is that students really need to take their O Level Maths grade as a serious indicator for their decision on whether to take H1/H2 Maths. The intense jump from Secondary (4-5 years) to JC (only 2 years!) is often unexpected by students, and should not be underestimated. The ultimate aim is to do well for the A Levels in just a short span of 2 years, so do make decisions depending on what is best for yourself.
2. Clarify All Doubts, Know Your Maths Inside Out!
The JC school schedule is made up of 2 main segments – mass cohort lecturers to teach all content, and tutorial lessons for homework, problems and solutions to be discussed with teachers within your class. There is almost zero opportunity to ask any questions during lectures, leaving students to rush and copy annotations into their lecture notes. Content is taught at the speed of the lecturer, regardless of the students’ understanding. There is no active participation and thus students absorb only a portion of what is taught, as their concentration levels tend to drop after 15-25 minutes (more disadvantages of lecturer here.) Though JC life is known to be very tiring, do try to pay attention in lectures to grasp as much of the content as possible, and do take the chance to clarify your doubts with teachers and peers during tutorial lessons. Even then, tutorial time slots may not be enough for individual attention, and this poses as a big problem as it leaves students lost with their numerous unanswered questions.
To help cope in grasping and mastering each topic, students often engage a private JC Maths tutor for themselves. On top of this, it is important that a tutor is engaged earliest, at the beginning of JC1. MindFlex would advise you to clarify your doubts from the first topic ASAP, as the question types and workings of A Level Maths are far more complex and so much longer than that of the O Level Maths. It is not difficult to get engulfed and lost, and this has sent students into a total downward spiral despite just being at the start. A Level Maths questions are complicated and take a substantial amount of time to comprehend and solve, and having a private JC Maths tutor would definitely be beneficial to help you with this, outside of limited school hours.
Be organised with your Maths work, always complete your tutorial assignments and do not miss out on any question. Run through every doubt with your JC Maths tutor who, rest assured, will be there with the purpose of guiding you according to your pace. Time management within the 2 years of JC is very important, so do aim to get your JC1 topics nailed by the promotional exams. If you find yourself constantly struggling even by the end of JC1, perhaps it is time to seek advice from your JC Maths tutor on a decision whether dropping to H1 Maths would be more beneficial to you, even if it may not be ideal.
3. Graphic Calculator (GC) & Formula Sheets, Your Best Friends!
While it is important that you have a strong social support system in JC, the friends we refer to here are all your Maths formulae and most especially, your Graphic Calculator! You will soon come to realise that your graphic calculator is your greatest “weapon” to get you through, and it is paramount that you learn all its functions inside out, to enable your best and most efficient performance! (Do ensure that your calculator is approved, here.) A first tip – always set your GC in Radian Mode and not in Degree Mode; this would eradicate a bunch of wrong answers and misunderstandings about your work. Familiarising with all your GC functions on muscle memory can allow extra fast usage, and could eventually give you added advantage of having a little extra time to check your computations for careless mistakes. Next, even when you come across questions that demand for “without the use of the calculator” and you have to show workings to prove for an answer, please be sure to still use your GC to double check your answers! Another magic tip – an additional handy “friend” to bring along would be your O Level Scientific Calculator. 2 screens now allow for multi-tasking – simpler calculations can be done on your SC without clearing the screen of your GC!
The MF15 is a set of formulae that will be given to you during your A Level Maths exam for your usage. Our JC Maths tutors advise that though you can refer to it, memorising most of it could relieve you of a lot of precious exam time. Take time to memorise these essential formulae through practice and once you are familiar with these, you have already overcome a huge hurdle and would just need to focus on understanding the demands of the questions and the applications of your concepts. Rest assured that the workings will come almost intuitively afterwards!
Your personal JC Maths Tutor and Google are also great “friends” that you can rely on to get your Maths concepts quickly in check! They are able to help you conceptualise methods to help you understand concepts and memorise formulae in ways you would not have discovered on your own. JC Maths tutors will be able to guide you in your work presentations and topical summaries in customised formats according to your needs, with an emphasis on visual learning to help “transforms words into recognisable pictures” for students!
4. Feeling Hungry? Crunch Those Numbers!
Though some students may have done well for the O Level Maths through topic spotting, last minute cramming or sheer luck, JC Maths tutors can ascertain that this certainly would not be replicated again at their A Levels. There are no shortcuts or miracles at the A Levels. If you want to do well, work on as many questions as you can get, as practice can only mean that you will improve with time. Here are some advice from the tutors at MindFlex: Be sure to first complete your tutorials, then topical worksheets and making sure that your foundation is set, before embarking on past-year papers, and eventually the Ten Year Series (TYS). Your personal JC Maths tutor would be able to get hold of past-year (or even the current year’s!) papers from the various JCs in Singapore, so be sure to attempt on them. Constant revision of past topics is important, memory on the concepts can only get clearer through practice. There are a multitude of topics tested especially in the H2 syllabus (on top of your other H2 subjects), so be sure that none of them are left to rust, or it will be hard to pick them up again! Visit here to learn more about private A Level Tuition.
It is easy to be demoralised by the seemingly impossible questions. Take your time to consult your JC Maths tutor and gradually, you would be able to unbox the concepts and application strategies on your own. Every question is an opportunity to practice and hone your Maths skills; practice extensively and get familiar with all types of questions, and aim to be fast and accurate. Many students realise that unlike the TYS for O Level Maths where they can easily spot a pattern in the question types, the TYS and other past-year papers often pose questions from all sorts of unrecognisable angles, leaving them at a loss of how to even approach them. Focus on critically analysing what each question wants, and formulating the answer should come more easily eventually. Dedicate more time to focus on topics that you are weaker in, and aim to have all topics somewhat mastered 2-3 months before the A Levels to feel ready.
5. Keep Calm for your JC Maths Exam.
The last tip that our JC Maths Tutors would like to give is one which is often overlooked by students. This is very important, cannot be understated and applicable to all examinations, especially Maths. PLEASE make sure you have sufficient REST before your A Level Maths Papers 1 and 2. MindFlex would advise for you not to attempt to do anymore questions on the day before the exam, as any confusion would cause sudden distress and anxiety, or even worse, a mental block. From our personal experience, reading through YOUR OWN work and solutions that you had done up, as well as highlighted questions and mistakes, would be a good way to wrap up your revision. The key to going into the A Level Maths exam is to comprehend the topics fully and bring that understanding into full force.
Focus on the questions that you are confident in doing so that you have time to complete the paper. As mentioned earlier in this article, A Level Maths questions can be extremely long and tedious to solve, so skip over the questions that you are unsure of, before returning to attempt them later again. Another tip from JC Maths tutors is to underline the important keywords and numbers in the questions to avoid careless mistakes that students cannot afford to make. As much as possible, do try to re-input your final answer back into the question. This is the best way of double-checking and securing those precious marks which could be lost to careless mistakes. Do strive to be as careful as possible and obtain the full marks for the questions you are confident in – at least this can make up for the other difficult questions that you are not sure of. Though pressured for time, try to keep calm and read the questions carefully, and do remember to check your work again if there is remaining time left.
In Conclusion – JC Maths Is Tough, But Definitely Not Unbeatable
Excelling in Maths is an accomplishment that is very important to many students, and attaining positive results could open doors to many potential career paths. Do remember to seek help early if you are facing great difficulties in understanding your JC1 Maths concepts, before you find yourself in an undesirably confused state the following year. Engaging a JC tutor to help you through with the above 5 tips would certainly be beneficial to cope with your Maths, and indirectly relieving you of more time to concentrate on your other subjects as well. To learn more about private JC Maths tuition, do not hesitate to contact us here, and our friendly team will be delighted to assist you in getting the A Level Maths guidance that you need from the very best of home tutors.
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