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3 Tips for Succeeding in HSC Mathematics Advanced

Friday 12th, February 2021

Muskan Jain

Looking for tips for Mathematics Advanced, then you have come to the right place! As someone who was consistently scoring 60% in Mathematics Advanced in Year 11, I can relate to the frustrations some of you may be feeling, especially when your hard work is not translating into ‘success’. However, in year 12, I was able to get my marks in the high 90s and ended up scoring 99/100 in the HSC Mathematics Advanced Exam. How? By using these 3 tips:

1. Mistakes Book

If you are one of my students, you must have heard me talk about the importance of having a mistakes book. Making a mistakes book seems time-consuming and pointless, but I can promise you it will help you stop making some of those silly mistakes.

The way I set out my mistakes book is really simple. I write out my mistakes, for example, forgot units, two negatives make a plus, misread the question, etc. My mistakes book got really messy, so the week before my exam, I would categorise each of these mistakes by topic: Calculus, Trigonometry, Miscellaneous, etc. Then, throughout the week and on the day of the exam I will flip through this book, so I remember not to make any mistakes in my exam.

2. Syllabus

For every subject other than Maths, everyone raves on about the importance of the syllabus. But the Maths syllabus is sadly disregarded. The week before my HSC exam, I went through the entire Maths syllabus and then focused on points that I was not sure of. And honestly, this helped me walk into that exam room feeling confident and prepared for whatever NESA throws at me.

An easy way to go through the syllabus is using the traffic light method. This means that any syllabus dot points that you have never heard of or struggle with should be coloured red, points that you are okay with are orange, and any points that you find easy should be green. Then you spend time on the red and orange points, and hopefully convert them into green. I would recommend doing this after you finished a topic and not a week before an exam.

3. Ask yourself “why”

There is a reason for every step in Maths and if you know the reason, it means that you understand your content. Whenever I am doing questions, I try to answer, “Why I did that certain step? or why do I add units?”. If you can’t answer those sorts of why questions, go to your teacher or tutor and ask them for help.

If answering “why” seems a bit weird, teach someone – a friend, a parent, your siblings, even an imaginary class. Pull up a question and try answering it by explaining it to someone. Often, you will see yourself stumbling over certain areas of the question, and that’s when you know you need to spend more time on the topic or ask for help.

These tips may not work for you the same way they did for me, but I do hope the information I provided does help you. I wish you all the very best for your HSC and Mathematics journey!

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