After taking further mathematics for 2 years and looking back, I don’t regret my seemingly rash decision during matriculation when I chose to take up the subject. Hence through this article, I hope to shed some light on further mathematics as a subject and give some advice to JC students who plan to take it.
There are a few further mathematics topics that build on the H2 math topics that would teach us more depth into those topics. For example, JC students who take H2 math would only learn integration application limited to the scope of area and finding volume using disc method. However, in further mathematics, you would be taught how to find the volume using shell method, and how to find length of arc and surface area of a rotated curve. Moreover, the integration would not be limited to cartesian and parametric forms but would include polar forms as well.
In addition to building onto topics, there are also additional topics within further mathematics, such as linear algebra which initially teaches the use of matrices and then moves on to linear spaces followed by eigenvalues and eigenvectors, which is taught in 1^{st} year university math courses. However, some of these new topics like linear algebra could be very abstract and maybe difficult to grasp initially which might cause some to struggle.
JC students who take up further mathematics are spared from the large lectures that students who take H2 Mathematics have to attend. Instead the lecture group is usually the class itself, which also means that there are more interactions with the lecturers. Its more akin to a math lesson in secondary school where question could be asked during the lecture as oppose to one sided teaching whereby the students merely engage passively in class.
As further mathematics is built on H2 mathematics, you could expect to complete the H2 syllabus before your peers that opted for H2 mathematics (I completed mine at the start of J2). In a week, there would be 2 topics that are taught at the same time, usually taught in an alternating fashion. This applies to tutorials as well.
You would be required to complete tutorials and assignments as quickly as possible and try to keep to the deadlines as it would be difficult to catch up if you lag behind. You are also expected to read up and try the example questions within the lecture notes so that you won’t be lost during lectures.
My suggestion would be study during the holidays. Other than the March, June and September holidays that are used to revise for the examinations that come after them, the December holidays should be used to study as well. Either revise on the topics that you are weak at or start reading up on the next few topics so that when school reopens, it would be easier to catch up.
It is common knowledge that the pace that mathematics is taught is very fast and you need to be adept enough to switch between different topics as different topics are taught together. If you find your H2 math being weak, you should immediately seek help as soon as possible. This is where H2 Mathematics tuition could help you to strengthen your foundation and the weekly practices at New Dawn Learning Studio ensure that you never lose touch of H2 mathematics techniques.
Other than different lecture styles, the way JC math is being taught differs vastly between junior colleges in Singapore. Instead of making it an individual effort where it is only you against the questions, my junior college encourages discussions. It is no longer only about getting the answer, but also whether there is a more elegant and succinct solution, whether there are cases that one would fail to think about and whether the presentation is clear. All these require your peers’ eyes and thoughts as well, and you too will learn from them and improve yourself.
Generally, JC math teachers and tutors are very passionate about the subject. You could expect to pick up additional information that are not within the syllabus that the teachers feel could be useful in tackling questions in A Levels as well.
For example, I was taught the De Morgan’s law, which is extremely useful in tackling probability questions in H2 math as well. Your peers too will be very passionate and you could pick up some additional information from them. The level of passion for elegant and beautiful math is what differentiates a H2 mathematics class from other mathematic subjects across all levels. So if you love math as much as I do, then New Dawn Learning Studio provides the perfect learning environment for you.
I am sure that anyone that loves math would enjoy such an environment.