Ben Nguy scored 50 raw in Maths Methods, plus a 99+ ATAR. Hectic. If you have Methods questions you want answered, drop them in this thread here.

This is the third in a series of articles looking at how to score a raw 50. It’s quite a feat, but certainly doable! In this article, we’re speaking with Ben, who nailed Maths Methods. If you want to request a certain article or series, let us know here!

G’day Ben! So you got 50 raw in Methods. Did you do other things with your life?

Of course, Year 12 was a time to enjoy life and have fun, make bonds and relationships that may last a life time. I didn’t squander the opportunity by sitting in my room studying all day and night. School was about enjoying time with friends and accruing attendance. Other times were spent sleeping and partying, of course this doesn’t mean I didn’t study, I did, but perhaps not as freakishly much as you or my teachers expected. I guess you could say my way of life in year twelve was as followed: Sleep more than you study, study more than you party, and party as much as you can.

Did you study differently to other people for Methods?

No, I did what I had to and I did it well.

Did you think during the year you were going to get a raw 50?

You could say that the possibility was always lingering but never really an expectation, more like a goal. That’s because at the end of the day, getting a 50 comes down to a lot of factors, some of which are out of your control.

How much did you study per night? Was Year 12 completely hectic for you?

Year 12 was relatively relaxing, it was a year for me to enjoy and look forward to graduating. Although in hindsight this meant that my result overall wasn’t as high as it could have possibly been but I honestly think the tradeoff was worth it. The time I got to spend with friends was well worth the less practice I got for my units. And as to how much I studied a night? Let’s say it ranged anywhere between zero to a whole hour. Sometimes two 😊.

What do you think the difference is between 30 raw, 40 raw and 50 raw?

The difference between a 30 and 40 is knowledge. The difference between a 40 and 45 is understanding. And the difference between a 45 and a 50 is luck.

A person who scores a 30 did not learn the whole course, they went through the exams and there were sections that were unfamiliar due to the lack of basic concepts.

Going from a 30 to a 40 is simply expanding your basic understanding and fundamentals, knowing how to do the basics, and doing them very well, is enough to get you a 40.

However, those who score 40 don’t understand, they rote learn. There would be concepts they didn’t quite get but they remembered the formula to, this separated them from those who understood all the material and why they worked the way they did, these people got 45.

Finally, those who scored 50, they know no more than those who scored 45 or anywhere in between. They got lucky. Health, nerves, and emotional factors all play in to the final results. You can, of course, manipulate these factors to your likelihood of success – exercise, eat well, be prepared – but nothing can fully prepare you for something unknown. A 50 is a paint job on a brand new car, it doesn’t make it faster, it just looks a bit nicer.

The age-old question: how many practice exams?

Two, both compulsory, and both dreaded. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against practice exams, it’s just that I simply could not be bothered at the end of the day. I didn’t want to sit there and force myself to do something I didn’t necessarily want to do. I read all the exams, I knew what was in them, I just never did them. This isn’t something to brag about, but rather is a demonstration that hard work doesn’t necessarily translate. Work smart, understand the practice exams you do, and you will be better off than someone who mindlessly scribbled lines on a piece of paper. Hard work beats talent. But you can’t work hard, without talent.

Okay, let’s cut to the chase: what are your top three tips for absolutely nailing Methods?

  1. Fundamentals. Know what you need to and know it well.

  2. Understand. Know and understand why and how your formulae are derived, why the area of something is a certain formula, so on so forth. Understand, don’t just rote learn.

  3. Practise and anticipate. Do (or not) your practice exams, but look for patterns in questions. Things that appear every year are likely to appear again this year. Look for things done poorly, these things are likely to be repeated. And finally, the study design refreshes itself often, new content will always be included in some shape or form, make sure you know it.

Good times – thanks Ben!

If you have questions, Ben will be floating around the Methods section of the ATAR Notes Forums – and you can also ask questions on The VCE Discussion Group.

NOTE: Following all of this advice by no means guarantees a high study score or ATAR – but hey, it worked for Ben!

Want more practice? Get around the Maths Methods Topic Tests – practice galore!