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Tackling H2 Mathematics Vectors

December 16, 2019 | By Yi Kai

Vectors could be daunting and is arguably the most difficult topic in H2 mathematics. Many JC students struggled with it, some survived while others perish when it comes to vectors questions. Here, we offer some tips to better tackle this topic and show how H2 math tuition classes might help.

There are generally 2 types of math questions under the topic of vectors. One is the dot and cross problem, which I feel is more of an algebraic manipulation practice. The other would be the application type of math questions where you need to find distances, length of projections, etc., given the context. It is important to differentiate these two types as the method to tackle them is very different.

a. Dot and Cross Problems:

It is important to understand the key concepts in dot and cross products. One of the crucial concepts you should take note of, is that cross products create a vector that is mutually perpendicular to the 2 vectors that you have crossed.

Try to not to expand everything as it would make the expression messy and the pattern difficult to identify. Rather, try to factorise the expression and group like terms together. Doing so makes it easier to identify a pattern.

“Force out the result” after knowing your end goal. At least you would have a general direction as to how you should add or eliminate terms and move closer to the result as opposed to doing mindless manipulation that could bring you further away from the answer. Moreover, during the actual A levels H2 mathematics exam, it is more likely that you would gain the method marks along the way even if you do not arrive at the correct answer.

b. Application Type Questions:

Sketch out the scenario that is being presented in the math question if the questions have no diagram for you. it could be difficult to picture the situation when so much information is presented to you at one go. It would also be easier to retrieve information when you annotate on your diagram and consolidate all the information in one picture. Moreover, you should look at the image from different angles, and draw out the one that could capture as much information as possible or the one that would allow you to clearly see a relationship between the dots, lines and planes. This would make it easier for you to think of methods to answer the question when the relationships are made clear.

It’d be helpful to create a summary for the different methods. There is a certain set of skills required in vector application like finding distance between a point and a plane, distance between planes etc. the same methods could be employed across different questions, so consolidating them would make it easier for you such that when you identify a question that requires a certain skill, you could immediately employ it, saving you precious time during the H2 mathematics exam.

Identifying which skills to use may not be easy. Constant practice of common math question is required so that you could identify the skills required immediately. H2 math tuition could help here to offer you more exposure to the different questions, and also help you sort questions easily according to the different skills that are required.

Most importantly, to tackle vectors effectively, you should have a good grasp of the subject. If you feel that you are lagging behind, you may want to consider signing up for A Level math tuition with us at New Dawn Learning Studio, where more attention could be given to you to help you bridge the gaps in understanding. Moreover, our easily comprehensible notes would allow you to more easily grasp the concepts.

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