O-Level Maths (either additional mathematics or elementary mathematics) can be rather challenging to score for. While elementary mathematics is more similar to lower secondary mathematics which you’d be familiar with, additional mathematics often comes across as more challenging to conquer. You’d be introduced to completely new concepts that seem so foreign to you; think sine, cosine, tangent, dy/dx, and more! However, here at the one of the top O-Level tuition centres in Singapore, we have combined a list of methods you can employ to brush up on your mathematics skills!
#1: Adopt good learning habits
Pay attention in class
This might be a given, but you will be surprised at how much of a difference paying attention in class will make. During your math classes, content can get dry and lessons can feel endless (especially if it is a 1h 30 minute lesson). This is where students are tempted to drift off or simply work on other subjects. Some may even have the mentality that they can always catch up with work after class in their own time using their textbooks, however, this is an extremely dangerous mindset to have! Most of the time, this will not work unless you have significant help outside of class! You will find it challenging to piece together and comprehend certain formulas, making it almost impossible for you to know how to apply different theories even if you have them at your fingertips. Zenith’s pro tip is to always prioritize conceptual understanding. Do your best to understand new concepts and clear any doubts during the lesson itself!
Do your assignments and submit them on time
Additionally, do your homework and hand them in on time. We cannot emphasize how important this is. The process of doing your assignments will also enable you to sufficiently familiarise yourself with new topics. With mathematics, the only way to succeed is to practice! Additionally, when your teacher is going through corrections for different homework, you’d have something to refer to and the learning process of correcting your own mistakes is a crucial one to set you up for eventual success. Learning through mistakes is extremely effective, and you may also be exposed to other methods of solving the question when the teachers go through model answers.
When in doubt, don’t be afraid to clarify! This is very crucial if you want to see huge improvements in your O-Level Mathematics grade. Doubts left unclarified or untackled, lead to a gigantic snowball of misconceptions. Don’t be shy to seek out your tutors outside of class, or feel peer pressured into thinking that consultations are “lame” or a waste of time. Consultations provide you with one-to-one access to your tutor who will be able to purely focus on you and better cater to your weaknesses and other academic needs. In a class setting, it might be harder for your tutor to answer all of your questions in detail as they’d have to cater to the rest of the class as well. During your consultation sessions, you may also ask them to go through any extra practice questions that you’ve completed as well!
However, you may find it a struggle to book consultation slots with your Mathematics tutor amidst the hoard of students vying for a slot, especially when we’re near the examination season. This is why here at Zenith, our students will never have to worry about consultation slots; all our tutors specially set aside time to cater to students’ questions! As long as our tutors are available, they will always be open to either online or in-person consultations, whichever you’re more comfortable with. Moreover, our tutors are also available round-the-clock on WhatsApp for any urgent questions you may have!
#2: Practice, practice, practice
There is only one way to master mathematics, and that is through consistent practice. In order for you to vastly improve in O-Level Mathematics, you need to do more than just pay attention in class and hand up your assignments on time. You’d only be able to practice basic questions to test your theoretical understanding in most of your homework assignments. Your teacher in class would likely also only go through the bare essentials as there’s still a truckload of content that needs to be covered in the school year. To vastly improve, you would need to train your brain to think mathematically, and this can only be achieved through a lot of practice! This is especially the case with additional mathematics, where calculus requires practice to perfect. Questions on topics like differentiation, logarithms, and trigonometry follow the same general pattern, and once you nail your thought process and application skills, doing these questions will be a breeze. Practicing will also expose you to a myriad of questions on the same topic, which will be extremely useful for when you take your O-Level Mathematics examination. This is because you will be less likely to be shocked by different question iterations or phrasing that you’ve never seen before! Aside from all the above, practicing questions will also help you sift out any misconceptions that you may harbor unknowingly (make sure you mark your answers and methods against a reliable answer scheme)!
At this point, you may be wondering, ‘where is the best place to look for practice questions?’. Well, no fear, because Zenith is here! Nearing the examination season, most schools usually provide students with practice questions. However, here at one of the best secondary Mathematics tuition centres in Singapore, we provide our students with the material throughout the school year! The Zenith experience comprises freshly compiled notes every lesson, done up meticulously by our dedicated tutors. You can expect our experienced tutors to be extremely familiar with the SEAB content requirements, so rest assured that you are in good hands! Our notes here at Zenith also consist of practice questions and practice papers across all difficulty levels for you to try your hand at. Our students never have to worry about having insufficient materials for their studies.
#3: Create a “formula cheat sheet” for yourself
Factoring in both additional and elementary mathematics, there are many formulas to remember! This makes it extremely easy for you to mix things up and get the formulas wrong! Get a notebook or even a pack of flashcards; each time you learn a new formula, remember to write it down. Make sure you write down the title of each topic so you know what type of questions to use the formula for. At the end of the O-Level additional Mathematics and elementary mathematics syllabus, you will find yourself with a notebook or a set of flashcards filled with key formulas for you to refer to! This “cheat sheet” also makes life easier for you when you are revising, because you will not need to flip through pages of your school notes just to find a single formula! It also serves as a good last-minute recap just before your O-Level Mathematics examination. Here at Zenith, we believe in the effectiveness of having a “cheat sheet”, which is why we provide succinct summary sheets for all our students!
#4: Play mathematical games
In order to vastly improve in O-Level mathematics, you may want to take a breather from the conventional pen and paper study methods. With how rapidly technology is advancing these days, you can find a myriad of educational games online! You can try your hand at some mathematical games that involve mathematical concepts like everyone’s favorite game, Kahoot! It’s no secret that everyone loves a good game of Kahoot, be it because of its catchy soundtrack or the adrenaline rush you get as the clock counts down. What most students don’t know is that you can actually play Kahoot on your own! There are plenty of premade learning games on kahoot. This version of Kahoot is called the “Kahoot! Academy”, and you will be able to select your subject and/or grade on the home page (Fig 1.).
Fig 1. Kahoot! academy home page
You can also get “Kahoot! Algebra 2” by Dragonbox on the app store! This free game is a super fun, cutting-edge approach to learning and practicing algebra (Fig 2.).
Fig 2. Kahoot! Algebra 2 on the app store
Alternatively, there are also other games you can try your hand at like “Mangahigh”, or a cute gamified calculator called “Polyup” (Fig 3.) that enables you to learn new modules by building things! This game allows you to build anything from chips that run on maths to animations, games, worlds, etc. Think of coding, but make the code pure maths!
Fig 3. Homepage of Polyup
Not only will you be able to enjoy the thrill of building your own metaverse, you will also be able to learn mathematical concepts as well!
#5: Create visual representations
To help you visualize things better, especially when you are doing questions, draw it out.
Questions on integration where you are required to find the shaded area can be very confusing. Thus, draw the graphs out, and highlight the lines if needed (Fig 4.). As seen in Fig 4., we have drawn out two graphs and highlighted the lines in which the question has been mentioned. Doing so has enabled us to see the area we need to find clearly! Mind maps may also be useful during your mugging sessions, check out our article here on mind maps!
Fig 4. Sample question
#6: Join a tuition centre
Sometimes, the load of new information can be overwhelming, and you might just need that extra push to elevate your learning! Due to their hectic schedules, your school tutors may not be able to cater to all your questions all the time. This is when you can look for alternatives to improve your learning experience! Joining a secondary school tuition centre will confer you the extra help you need, with additional materials and tutors who care deeply about your learning progress!
Zenith is the perfect choice if you are looking for a new tuition community! Here at Zenith, we boast an excellent track record of a 66+% distinction rate among our students for the 2021 A-Levels, and an 85+% distinction rate for the 2021 O-Levels (across all subjects). So rest assured that you are in good hands with our Mathematics tuition program! Here, we are always concerned about your well-being. This is why each and every one of our centres have designated study areas for our students to mug because we know how challenging it can be to look for a good study spot. Our study spaces are air-conditioned, are fully equipped with top-speed internet, and have multiple power plugs for you to charge your devices. As long as Zenith is open, our study spots will always be accessible for our students. Besides having areas for our students to study, we also have a brimming snack bar for them to feast on when tired, and massage chairs to boost their energy (Fig 5.)! We know that the A or O-Level journey can be an incredibly tough one, which is why we also like to encourage our students with termly outings (Fig 6.). The Zenith experience is truly one like no other. We look forward to seeing you in our warm and vibrant community, don’t hesitate to sign up today!
Fig 5. An insider look at our Potong Pasir branch
Fig 6. Our term 1 outing to Universal Studio Singapore!