Prepping for the Methods Exam in 6 DaysBy Stephen Zhang in Study
27th of October 2016
Right now, most of us will be wading through the aftermath of yesterday’s English exam – hopefully you’ve all smashed it!
We don’t mean to interrupt your celebrations, but things have only just begun – realise that there are only six days left now until the Methods exam. Yes, that’s right – 6×24 hours left to get ready to tackle what will probably be one of the most challenging exams you’ll sit in the next few weeks, so get pumped!
With only one week to go, it is more important than ever to strategise your exam revision and make every bit counts.
Have a plan
Having a well thought-out plan is key to accomplishing any task. That includes preparing for the Methods exam. Even though you may feel a burning urge to print off yet another exam, you’ll save a lot more time in the long run if you take some time to sit back and plan out your revision.
Write up a day-by-day study schedule. It’s important to be able to arrange time for study, and time to relax – both are essential to productivity. With proper planning, you’ll be able to avoid those nerve-wracking last minute ‘damn I haven’t revised [insert topic here] and the exam’s tomorrow aaaaaahhhh’ situations.
Not only will planning out your time ensure adequate revision and preparation, but it will also give you a much smoother ride leading up to exams, building confidence. And confidence is a very important thing this close to exams.
Build your confidence
Sitting an exam isn’t just about knowing your stuff inside out – it’s also a game of mental strategy. In this last week of Methods revision, course content is only half the picture.
It is absolutely essential that you develop a sense of confidence in your answer.
Solve a question. Write down the answer. Check that you’ve answered the question. Move on.
This is what you want to be doing – giving each question on the exam your best shot, and not looking back. And you have an opportunity to practice that right now. The next time you do a practice exam, don’t rush – relax and let the maths flow. Chances are, you’ll be surprised at how well you do, compared to rushing the exam and frantically checking each question.
Revise what counts
The hours are counting down, and you’re probably pressed for time in your revision. Thus, the question arises: I’m really confident with differentiation, but I suck at probability. Should I spend all my time getting super good at diff, or should I take time to do probability?
You only have a limited amount of time to spend preparing for exams, and your goal is to maximise the amount of benefit gained from the time you’ve spent.
In our little hypothetical scenario, you’re already amazing at differentiation, so what difference will spending another two hours on it make? Probably none! On the other hand, spending the same amount of time on probability will result in much greater benefit for the same amount of time spent.
Look through your past exams (or exam log), and list down two or three topics that you struggle with the most, and spend a few hours going through your textbook and your notes. You’ll find that this is much more productive than just doing more exams!
Get good at the CAS
Success in Exam 2 depends on more than just maths ability – being fast at using the CAS calculator is also essential. If you’re a bit slow at finding the right functions on the calculator, treat this as an extra revision task – memorise how to find and use the functions you need most. This crops up most in probability and statistics (like normCdf, invNorm and so on on the TI). There’s no time to go hunting for the right function in the exam, so now’s your chance to familiarise yourself – a lot of the relevant calculator information can be found in your textbook.
For those TI users, here are a whole bunch of nifty tips and tricks…
- Ctrl+7 ⇒ go to first item in history
- Ctrl+1 ⇒ go to editing line
- Shift + ‘-‘ ⇒ differentiation operator
- Shift + ‘+’ ⇒ insert integral
- Ctrl+0 ⇒ pull up the scratchpad
And you can find some more here: http://atarnotes.com/note/guide-to-the-ti-nspire-cas-1/
There are a lot of very capable people willing to help anyone in the lead up to the Methods exam. If you have a question, just throw it up in our Maths Methods Question Thread!