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How I Revised For JC Math and aced my A-levels

January 09, 2020 | By Yi Kai

Some might be puzzled over how to revise for H2 math in junior college, a subject that could be easily aced in secondary school but is now difficult to even pass. There is a paradigm shift in the level of difficulty in the questions and receiving a constant U or S could be daunting. Having spent countless hours in both the school and tuition environment, I’ve rounded up my best tips for H2 math revision that will help you ace with flying colours.

  1. Creating a set of notes

Crafting different sets of notes and organizing them can be seemingly chaotic. Notes from school and math tuition need to be combined together to effectively structure a comprehensive study journal.  Moreover, without proper management, you are highly susceptible to misplacing your notes and will eventually panic when studying for your A-level math paper.

So how did I effectively structure my notes? I created my very own 秘籍 (book of secrets in mandarin) – a compilation of every mathematical formula, computation, theory and equation. First, I would comb through all my notes from school lectures and H2 math tuition to decant out the theory required for every topic. Besides understanding the theory, I would attempt to take on the role of a teacher and explain the key elements of the theories to myself. The ability to explain the theory ensures that I have a clear and deep understanding of math concepts which are then instinctively embedded into my memory. Additionally, for vectors, I would frame out a table and list down the steps to solve for various lengths, reflected points and different equations of lines and planes. This method is particularly important for vectors as I found that the application component was repetitive as long as you could develop a clear understanding of the question.

During my math revision, this book of secrets proved its worthiness as I could easily refer to the book whenever I encountered tough questions. Hence, you should also start to compile your notes and ensure that it is structured in a way where you can review the concepts with ease.

  1. Practicing of the questions

The H2 math paper is not about how well you can regurgitate the memorized knowledge, but it is an application-based test. It is akin to cooking where anyone could memorize recipes but without practice and refinement, the food would simply of subpar standard. Through endless hours of practice, I have learnt the art of application – how to use my content knowledge to tackle questions in the fastest and shortest method possible. Moreover, this repetitious drill has enabled me to activate my knowledge by gaining familiarity and expertise with the material.

Besides attempting practice questions from school, I studied questions from my H2 math tuition and ran through past year prelim questions. Much like a machine that needs oil to function, constant practice is required to perfect one’s mathematical skills.

  1. Identifying question types

After attempting a sufficient amount of questions, you would realize that the questions become repetitive in nature other than the few challenging ones which are designed for the math protégées. Hence, we should prioritize the less-challenging questions as these standard questions are worth 70 marks and would still grant us an A grade.

After my practice sessions, I would document the type of question and the specific steps to tackle them in my 秘籍 (book of secrets in mandarin). During the exam, all I require is to identify the type of question correctly and apply the relevant concepts. This method gave me sufficient time to tackle the challenging questions and acquire those extra marks to confidently secure an A grade. Moreover, the steps to solving the questions came to me instinctively due to my extensive amounts of practice sessions. Hence, I did not need to memorize the solutions and the standard questions became a highly mechanical procedure. But of course, A-level math questions are ever-changing and you should always be prepared to apply the concepts on a case-by-case basis.

  1. Taking note of challenging questions

During your practice sessions, you are bound to come across certain challenging questions that you spent hours cracking your brain only to eventually surrender and refer to the answer sheet. I realized that it was imperative to take note of the question and challenge myself again in the future.

One such way of tracking was through the application – Notion, which allows users to create multiple files and notes including photos. Hence, all my challenging questions could be easily accessed when I wanted to review them. In addition, I found out that a majority of challenging questions came from past-year prelim questions and A Level math tuition tutorials.

Although my revision guide may not be tailor-made for everyone, I hope that it would give you some clarity to how you can structure your self-revision efficiently and effectively. All-in-all, achieving good grades for H2 math is an arduous journey which requires determination, resilience and discipline. Only if you invest sufficient time and effort, will you enjoy the fruits of your labour.


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