Our Top Maths Tuition tutors share 7 Ways To Score An A1 for Secondary School Maths.

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Confident in Maths but want to make sure that you secure that A1? How would you like to see the most effective must-know pointers to attaining that A1 for your Maths, shared by some of our Secondary Maths Tutors? Out of all the O Level subjects, O Level E/A Maths is arguably one of the most straightforward papers to score well for, as long as you have a good grasp of the subject and have more than sufficient practice for it. Some students may still find it difficult to wrap their head around the subject or keep missing that A1 by just a notch – this article will help you see that Maths solutions are only either right or wrong, and there is often a systematic way to solve them. That A1 is very much more achievable than you think, here are the 7 Ways To Score An A1 for Maths by our tutors teaching Secondary School Maths Tuition.

1. Managing Your Time Effectively

Time is limited and flies by during an examination and students often find themselves battling against each passing minute. If you frequently find yourself rushing to complete your Maths paper, then as the case may be, it is time to improve your time management. Secondary Maths tutors have emphasised that the exam is like a marathon, you have to consistently time yourself while doing practice papers to ensure that you are used to the necessary speed of solving the questions.

Managing Your Time Effectively

Manage your time wisely by placing a clock on your study desk, and putting away all distractions such as your mobile phone, while you do your Secondary Maths practice papers

If you are unsure of how to solve a question, skip it immediately instead of pondering over it. Continue to work on the rest of the questions that you are confident in, so that time is used most efficiently. Students that insist on completing the paper systemically and working out a solution to a question that they do not know how to do, will eventually find themselves panicking due to the lack of the time left for the remaining questions. Our top Secondary Maths tutors have advised to always try to pace yourself such that you have more than sufficient time to attempt the difficult questions that you skipped, as well as to re-check the other answers.

Practise good time management with your homework, topical assessments and sample test papers. Remember to keep away all distractions, you must train your mind to stay focused and train that stamina to endure through the actual O Level Maths paper. Social media can be distracting, so try to minimise phone / computer usage while doing your timed practices.

2. Familiarise Yourself With The Maths Concepts

Before you end up getting your brain wrecked by those nerve-wracking Maths questions, it is essential to build your foundation first and know what is going on. Some students panic at the sight of numbers – it is crucial that you take a step back to understand the logic behind each Maths concept. Hiring a Secondary Maths tutor can definitely help you in this aspect, to guide you through each concept outside of school hours at your own pace. Be sure to ask all questions and clarify your doubts so that you can proceed to attempt some practise questions. If your foundation is already there, then take the extra step to have the formulas at your fingertips – especially when it comes to Algebra, as there are a large number of Algebra topics built upon one another. Some formulas will be given to you for the exam, but one common mistake that most students often make is the incorrect application of formulas. The most important thing in Maths is to actually understand the logic behind the concepts, and be able to manipulate the formulas well. It is important that you do not rely entirely on your formula sheet nor blindly, or you would end up blindly inserting the wrong formulas without even understanding why. Maths will then seem like the most difficult subject in the world.

If you find yourself having trouble grasping the concepts in each chapter, try to go through some questions daily and create a list of formulas. Creating a mind-map or concept-map of formulas also enables you to memorise better, and helps you prepare better for your exams. Here is a guide for those who need help in doing up a mind-map. Another alternative is coming up with your rhythm or poem, whichever works effectively for you. Our top Secondary Maths tutors have also found some videos on Youtube that have tremendously helped students in formula memorisation through the use of music (eg. The Quadratic Formula Song). Do a quick search on Youtube to see if any songs relate to you!

3. Practise Maths Papers Consistently

Secondary Maths tutors cannot emphasise more that “Consistency is key” – not only to guarantee a pass for your exam, but also to secure an A1. Practicing consistently helps to reinforce what you have learned and enables you to get even better at it each time. For each subject, it is a good habit to practise weekly and Maths is no exception. Set aside two to three hours a day to do topical practice, to ensure that you are confident in each topic before moving on to the next. You may start the first 90 minutes to recap on the last topic you have learned, before setting aside the next 90 minutes to continue on the next topic. Repeat this process the following week.

Repeated practice also trains your brain to think and work faster, and eventually finding the solutions and solving the workings will be a part of muscle memory and come intuitively. Exposing yourself to as many questions as possible will undeniably help you become more confident and unafraid of the Maths questions you will face at the O Level Maths exam. Ensure that you purchase the Ten Year Series and make sure that every single paper is completed. The format is roughly consistent and similar through the years, so completing it will enable you to know what to expect in the actual O Level exam. Your Secondary Maths tutor can also provide you with past year exam papers from other schools to give you more practice examples. Practice makes perfect, especially in Maths. Once you get the hang of it, you will realise how easy it is to score for the paper.

4. Joining A Study Group

If you happen to be one of those who face trouble studying or focusing alone, Secondary Maths tutors also recommend students to join a study group. Practise self-discipline, set goals together, and aim to achieve those goals together with your peers.

Students Studying Together

A focused study group may work better for some students, as this encourages idea-sharing and discussions about the subject at hand

Each student has a different way of solving or understand a question, cross-sharing their perspectives and opening discussions on their methods of understanding may allow the group an opportunity to benefit from one another. Note-sharing would also be highly beneficial. We all understand that school can be stressful at times, especially when it is nearing the exam period. Therefore, having a study group is an advantageous way to receive support and motivation from your peers, who are all going through the process together with you. Additionally, being in a study group also helps you to practise teamwork, which is important when you enter tertiary education and the workforce in the future. As long as the group stays disciplined in studying together, the benefits of a group study can be substantial.

5. Don’t Be Afraid To Seek Help

Secondary Maths Tutors or teachers can be intimidating as they seem to be able to solve all questions with such ease, but rest assured that they will do everything they can to help their students, so do not let that stop you from seeking them for help. It might be a habit for students to just skip the more challenging questions when practising on their own, but what they do not realise is that an accumulation of these unattempted questions will cause a snowball effect and pose as a hindrance to your A in the end. Do approach your school Maths teacher after school to clear your doubt regarding any topic or question. If you are too afraid to do so, or if there is simply no time, we strongly suggest that you engage some extra help from 1-to-1 private O Level Maths tuition. As the saying goes, ‘There is no such thing as a stupid question’. Here at MindFlex, rest assured that we will be able to help you find a Maths tutor who would be suitable for you, to be able to help you with your Maths needs at your own pace.

6. Understanding Your Calculator

Scientific calculators (those approved by SEAB) are allowed and necessary to solve the problems in both Paper 1 and 2 of the O Level Maths exam, so students must ensure that they are able to use it well. While doing practice questions, play around with your calculator to learn new functions, as well as master all the functions that you need to use it for. Secondary Maths tutors have highlighted that students tend to make careless mistakes when they do not check whether their calculators are in Degree or Radian mode. This could change their answers drastically.

Understanding Your Calculator

Make sure that you are extremely familiar with the functions of your Scientific calculator to maximise speed during your O Level Maths exam

Your Scientific calculator can also be of utmost help in checking your workings, eg. when solving for simultaneous equations. This can definitely assure you that your workings and answers are correct (or wrong and needs redoing). Familiarise yourself with your calculator so you can be fast with its usage during the actual O Level exam, and also ensure that you bring two sets in for the paper, just in case one malfunctions.

7. “Double, Triple Check!”

All Secondary Maths tutors have his mantra “check and re-check your answers!”. Before that, always remember to examine each question properly instead of jumping straight into it, as some Maths questions can be straightforward yet designed to trick students. Reading the questions and given numbers carefully can help you avoid careless mistakes from the start, and save you precious time and unnecessary deduction of marks. 

Ensure that you have attempted all questions and dedicate the last 10 minutes of the exam to check on your answers. This is critical as many students actually spot mistakes in this 10-minute frame. Make sure you did not leave out any pages by accident and carry out some step-workings again to sieve out any calculation errors or missteps if present. Working backwards is also a good way to make sure that your answer is correct, plug in the numerical answer back into the question – this is a secret that can be used to confirm that the answers are correct.

Conclusion – Start Putting All These Tactics Into Practice

Now, it is time to convert all these above tactics into actual practice! In a nutshell, Maths takes Consistency, Discipline, and Practice. The same tips apply to both the E Maths, A Maths and even IP Maths papers. Students who have been leaving their studies to the last minute – it would not work out well in the end for Maths, which is heavily based on constant repetitive practice. Maths is treated by many of the high-performing students as a “Free A1”, so make sure to secure it. Maths is also the core of many Tertiary subjects, such as JC H1/2 Physics, and JC H1/2 Maths, or even Polytechnics and University Courses such as Engineering, and hence is a very important subject to ace.

If you need a break from studying, just make sure to get back on track as soon as possible and manage your time and schedule properly. Ultimately, the most important thing is finding your motivation and discipline, and work well with the pace you are comfortable with. Remember, every little inch of effort goes a long way.

Here at MindFlex, we are hopeful that if you practise the ‘7 Ways To Scoring An A1 for Maths by Top Tutors’ outlined above, you will see tremendous improvements and success in your Maths journey. If you need help in sourcing for Secondary Maths Tuition, feel free to contact us today!

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