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cookiedream

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How I Got a Raw 44 in Methods - Tips, Tricks and Regrets
« on: April 12, 2017, 08:20:48 pm »
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GENERAL ADVICE

   1. ASK YOUR TEACHER REGULARLY: I can't stress this enough. I've sacrificed my lunchtimes, recess, private studies and time after school to get a good hour's worth of clarifying any questions with my teacher. Before, I've always felt that I'm annoying the teachers when I ask them questions outside of class time. In fact, most teachers want students to ask them questions inside and outside of class. But if your teachers unfortunately don't have that kind of attitude, ask your tutor or your friends or the people here on ATARNotes. 
   2. DO AT LEAST 90% OF THE QUESTIONS (not just the ones for homework): Again, a tip that I tell everyone who asks me for Methods advice. I've done just about all the textbook questions, but I understand that for many this isn't feasible. So I suggest that for the very least, do more questions than the ones your teachers set for homework. Aim for 90% of exercise questions and more for chapter review questions, coz often the questions in chapter review are much harder.
   
How did you take your notes?
- I had an exercise book where at the front I had my exercise questions and at the back I wrote in some stuff in class that included advice from the teacher and examples that the teacher goes through.

How did you make your bound reference?
For bound references, I recommend reading this article

Here's what I've personally done:

Over the year, I've compiled it with my chapter summaries (each are one page long) at the front and notes that I often forgot or advice from the teacher in relation to that topic on the back of the same page. I had difficult questions with their worked solutions on the pages after a group of chapter summaries that was necessary for a SAC. That is, for my last SAC (which was on four chapters), I cut out and pasted the difficult questions on the pages after the chapter summaries for these four chapters.

I categorised these difficult questions in terms of topic (e.g. the questions highlighted in blue have to do with binomial distribution, etc.) and kept a legend for each colour for quick reference during the sac or exam.

While I had small flags and stick notes on the edges of my bound reference, before the exam we were told that we weren't allowed these at all. So I recommend folding the corners of certain pages you think are important, like folding the corners for each chapter summary etc etc.

Make your bound reference throughout the year and don't leave it to the last minute!! You wouldn't want to fall into the trap of compiling your bound reference when you could instead use that time for practice exams. However you may find you won't actually end up needing it in the sac/exam.

Did you do tutoring?
Yes, since Units 1/2. I found it very helpful as my tutor explained things clearly and they provided a lot of extra resources. They made sure that I understood the concepts, sometimes going overtime to explain or go through a certain question.

Were you ahead or did you try to go ahead of everyone else?
Yes I was ahead, but not too ahead. When the teacher went over a concept that my tutor covered, it was good revision and more often than not my teacher had more things to add as well.

What was your SAC average/What SAC averages should I be aiming for?
93%, I was at around the top of my cohort. I think you should aim to be around there in your school for a safe spot in methods, but ultimately the exam is what determines your final result.

To put it simply, VCAA doesn't look at your SAC averages, they look at your ranking. So if everyone in your cohort gets 40% and you get 41%, then you get scaled to 100% and get Rank 1 and that is all that VCAA looks at - just so they can moderate SAC difficulties against the cohort's performance on the exam. This applies to all VCE subjects (hence I will be putting this in all my guides ahaha)

After a SAC, did you discuss answers with others?
No. In fact, I was always the first person who left the SAC room while everyone else stayed back and talked about the SAC. As I passed by others who were discussing it, I either hummed to myself or put on headphones and drowned out everyone. It might be different for you, but personally I felt that it was unnecessary to talk about something that's over and done with and which will only cause you further stress (though sometimes I did fall into the trap of discussing answers the day after the SAC)

____________________________________________________________________________________________
Here's some topic-specific advice.

UNIT 3
|Functions and Relations |
- Tables! When you're dealing with a question about composite functions (if your teacher hasn't already taught you) do a domain-range table of f(x) and g(x). With this, it's easier to identify if your composite function exists or not and it's easier to calculate the required domain/range required for your composite function to exist. It can look like this:
          dom           ran
f(x)
g(x)

- Key terms! When they give you a function and they ask you to identify the domain or range, HIGHLIGHT if it's the domain or range. Most questions you will find in your practice sacs and exams will ask you to find the DOMAIN of a function, so you get used to doing that. So people often read over a question and give the domain when really it asks you for the range.

- Just a little note, though most of you probably know this by now (I kept forgetting this lol), but domain and range can be single numbers, like {11, 14, 17}

- Tables! Make a table similar to the one for inverse functions. This is especially useful when you are asked to give the domain/range of the inverse function of f(x) or when you're working out the inverse function etc etc
e.g.
          dom            ran
f(x)          [-3, 0]   [0,2]
f-1(x)   [0,2]          [-3, 0]

- Working out! Setting out for finding an inverse function, refer to the following example.
Q: Find the inverse function of f(x)=5x+2 and state its domain.
   Let y = f(x)
   find inverse, swap x <=> y
   x=5y+2
   x-2=5y
   y=(x-2)/5
   f-1(x)=(x-2)/5
   domf-1(x) = ranf(x) = R

- Be careful when excluding values out of your domain or range:
   R\[0,6)    <-- excludes 0 but includes 6, so on a line it'll look something like this:


- If you're solving for a constant (e.g. 'm') that makes two functions infinitely many or no solutions, make the x coefficient the same for both functions, usually through multiplication or division. Then equate the coefficients of y and the answers on the other side of the equals sign - this should get you two functions that you can solve. To have infinitely many solutions, there must be a common solution to both functions and for no solutions the answer is either the solution for one function or the solution for the other function. …..This is hard to visualise and sounds confusing, so I'll draw up an example:


- Remember to apply all transformations to any asymptotes!

- When you need to solve for the transformations required to get from a complex function to a simple function, follow these steps:
   Let's say you have y = 8 + 3/(x-4)
   1. Transpose it so that you have all the y transformations on one side and the x transformations on the other side:
   (y-8)/3 = 1/(x-4)
   2. Make y' equal to the left side and x' equal to the right side
   y' = (y-8)/3    x' = 1/(x-4)
   3. You're done. That's literally all the transformations you need. Now you just describe them:
        - 4 units in the negative direction of the x axis
        - 8 units down
        - Factor of 1/3 from the  axis (parallel to the y axis)

- If you haven't already, REMEMBER these two factorisation formulas:
   x^3 - a^3 = (x-a)(x^2 + ax + a^2)
   x^3 + a^3 = (x+a)(x^2 - ax + a^2)

| Trigonometry |
- Number of cycles for a circular function is generally calculated by:
   (Maximum number in domain  - minimum number in domain) / period
   e.g. dom = [0,2pi] , period=pi
   No. cycles = (2pi - 0)/pi = 2

- When graphing circular functions, use the scale of the function. This is calculated by (period/4). You can use this to plot your maximum, equilibrium and minimum points, guiding the shape of your function. This may also be confusing so I'll draw up an example:


- When graphing circular functions, list down these things to the side:
   - Period
   - Amplitude
   - Range
   - Domain

- For general solutions, never forget to write k ∈Z in each step of your working out

- When drawing sine and cos graphs, make sure that your graph isn't too curvy or too sharp. Bad wording once again, so refer here:


____________________________________________________________________________________________
UNIT 4
|Calculus |
- Average value of a function is NOT equal to the average rate of change

- Area of the graph above the average value = area of graph under average value

- When you're asked to anti-differentiate a function or find THE antiderivative of a function, put +c

- When asked to give AN antiderivative, the +c is optional

- Remember to put dx after the integral!!!!
   
| Probability |
To be honest, I can't give any better advice than the post here by evandowsett
____________________________________________________________________________________________
REGRETS AND WHAT I SHOULD'VE DONE:

   1. STRESS PROBLEMS: I remember how in a parent teacher interview with my methods teacher, one of the first things she said was that I stress out way too easily. Fortunately, I've improved a bit but I still have these problems.

   2. READING THE DAMN QUESTION: It speaks for itself. Probably as a result of a lack of timed practice exams. Despite my practice, occasionally I still read things wrong.

   3. DOING MORE TEXTBOOK QUESTIONS THAN PRACTICE SACS: While it was really beneficial to do all the chapter questions to make my foundation more concrete, proportionately I didn't do as many practice sacs and exams. I neglected redoing practice sacs.

   4. DID FEWER PRACTICE EXAMS THAN I WANTED: I was aiming to do 40 practice exams, just like for Psych. But my lazy butt couldn't be bothered, probably because of doing every single textbook question in both Cambridge and a large part of Maths Quest. So I was tired and jaded.
 
   5. NEGLECTED STUDY: My tutor had told our small group of two to do at least 5 multiple choice questions every day. Or 20 minutes of study every day. Even if it's a little, it's better than nothing. But nOPE, I didn't listen to this valuable piece of advice and instead marathoned gameplays on Youtube when I came back from tutoring.

   6. DIDN'T DO AS MANY TIMED EXAMS: My biggest regret for Methods.This ties in with my stress problem. I couldn't have imagined just how important it is to do timed exams. I thought that just doing the questions was good enough. This is NOT the case people. Have a timer and set out your desk like you would in the exam (Ruler on the desk above the exam booklet, pencils on your right etc etc).

   7. DIDN'T DO CHECKPOINTS: Only did like two questions in it. Checkpoints is your best friend when it comes to sac preparation before you start doing practice sacs, particularly because its organisation of questions corresponded to the structure of my sacs. Use it.
   

____________________________________________________________________________________________
EXAM ADVICE:

General Exam Advice:
   1. DON'T WORK OUT ANY QUESTIONS DURING READING TIME: Yes, read and understand the concepts behind a question, but don't go straight into your detailed working out. Your 15 minutes are better spent in comprehending and looking out for tricky concepts and key terms that others may miss (e.g. they give you speed in km/hr but you have to use m/s)

   2. WHEN GRAPHING FUNCTIONS, MAKE SURE YOUR LINE IS NOT FURRY: My teacher, who is an examiner, told our class that if your graph is like this:

   
   Then you get no marks. So draw your graphs with a smooth line. Like this:

   
   Of course, don't forget to label the axes, intercepts, endpoints etc etc. Speaking of which….

   3. IF THE ORIGIN IS INVOLVED WITH YOUR GRAPH, DON'T FORGET TO LABEL IT: Especially if it's an intercept, don't forget to label its coordinates.

   4. UNDERLINE EVERYTHING YOU HAVE AND PUT ALL RELEVANT FORMULAS ON THE SIDE OF YOUR WORKING OUT SPACE: While you're working out a problem, it's easy to miss out any values that may have been key to getting your final answer. So before you start your working out, you list them out to the side for quick reference, converting relevant units too.

   5. EXACT VALUES, UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED: A very common trick up VCAA's sleeve. Which is why I found having a separate highlighter for whenever decimal places appeared very useful. So if I looked at a question and there's no yellow highlighting, I know that I need to put exact values in my final answer.

   6. PUT BOXES AROUND YOUR FINAL ANSWER: Makes it much easier for examiners, who would've undoubtedly gone through hundreds of students' answers and whose eyes must be really tired. The same goes for your teachers when marking your sacs. Just to be on the safe side, emphasise your final answer by circling or highlighting it.

   7. USE YOUR FORMULA SHEET: It can be your hero. And especially for this study design, as there's important formulae for the new statistics topic (like confidence intervals). People often forget about this, putting the incorrect formula when it was there in the formula sheet. If you have time, take a minute during reading time to go over the formula sheet and mentally note any formula that's relevant to the questions in the exam or sac.

   8. FOR "SHOW THAT" QUESTIONS, GIVE AS MUCH WORKING OUT AS POSSIBLE: Even if it's calculator allowed, to get full marks you need to show all of your working out. In addition to this, say you have a question that goes something like: "Show that -2 is a solution of f(x)=x^2−3x−10" don't just sub -2 in. Hmm, this was probably a bad example, but in general you should never sub in the value in a "show that" question. Instead, you work your way through the question using relevant mathematical concepts until the final line of your working out has the value you're proving. In this case, you would factorise the function then let f(x)=0 to find all solutions. Then you solve for x to get x=-2, 5. Then you write a little statement at the end like "therefore, x=-2 is a solution of f(x)" just to make it clear to examiners.

   9. USE PREVIOUS WORKING OUT FOR "HENCE" QUESTIONS

   10. THE SQUARE ROOT OF A NUMBER, WHEN BY ITSELF, IS ALWAYS POSITIVE: I kept screwing this up last year, but when you square root a number it's always a positive alone. That's why you put the plus/minus sign in front when you're finding x or when you're dealing with functions.
   So basically, like this:



   It can be pretty confusing, so discuss it with your teacher, tutor or anyone here on ATARNotes if you need further clarification.

   11. KNOW YOUR CALCULATOR!!! An essential skill for all the maths subjects. There are many calculator guides here on ATARNotes, particularly for Ti-Inspire. Shortcuts are pretty helpful too (though I didn't really use them)

   For the Casio Classpad, you can make shortcuts with the following steps:
      Menu > System > System (on top right corner) > Shift Keys
      For the "Key" dropdown menu, put the key you want to have in your shortcut and in the box on the right of the "set" button, put the thing you're making a shortcut for. Press "OK"

____________________________________________________________________________________
OTHER ADVICE FROM PAST HIGH ACHIEVERS

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF PRACTICE EXAMS!
If your teacher suggests to you to do the VCAA papers last, DO NOT listen to them. Do them first so you have an understanding of the assessed material.
Don't overly focus on school SACs for exam revision, because they might not reflect what's going to be on the exam (especially for my school, the maths SACs are generally so poorly written that they always contain quite large mistakes).
Also, consult as many resources and have a general idea of what other schools are doing, never rely on just one teacher or one school as they might not be very clear of what's expected when it comes to revising and practice.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

How do you stop doing silly mistakes?
Silly mistakes are almost always unavoidable, but I did do some things that helped prevent them. They're no secret nor anything special, but they're so helpful when you use them right. I've said a few of these already.
   - Underline and highlight key terms AND UNITS
   - Listing out what you have on the side
   - Paying attention to your working out (did you miss any digits? did you accidentally put in a negative sign? did you add correctly?) - mouthing out or whispering to myself my working out helped for me
   - Don't go too fast but not too slow either
   - Having time in the end to check over your answers
   - PRACTICE! This is a key factor in cutting down the probability of you making silly mistakes. With practice comes perfect and this is definitely the case for methods.
   - HAVE A CLEAR MIND! Probably the most important in this list of protocols.

When did you finish the course?
Around August or September ish due to tutoring.

How many practice exams did you do?
I did 15 full exams. I didn't do all in timed conditions though (I think I did about 5 or 6 in timed conditions :/ This includes a trial exam our school did during the holidays)

Which companies did you get your practice exams from?
- VCAA past exams
- MAV (hard)
- Insight
- TSSM
- TSFX
- Heffernan
- NEAP (hard)
- Kilbaha (hard)
- CSE
- LegaC
- iTute

What was your study routine for the exam?
When it came to exam study, I was lazier for Methods than Psych (funnily enough, reflected in my study scores). Buuut what I've seen others do and what I did in my own study time were:

- Doing ALL the past VCAA exams
- Skype study group, where we asked and answered each other's questions
- Sometimes on the weekends, doing timed exams exactly like the real exam at the exact time of the exam (i.e. I'd do Exam 1 on Saturday at 9:00-10:15 and Exam 2 on Sunday at 11:45-2:00)
- Redoing difficult questions throughout the year
- Redoing questions that I got wrong from VCAA past exams

What did you do the day before Exam 1?
Casually flipping through trial exams I didn't do. I would look at a question, think of my working out strategy (e.g. Okay so this question is asking for the standard deviation….what's n and p….hmm okay so I just put it in the formula for variance then square root it…..okay yep yep…done, next question).

What did you do during Exam 1?
The exam was held in our large gym, with desks neatly spaced apart in orderly rows and columns and a clock on the two television screens high up on the wall. I was at the very back to the left, trying my best to ignore the entire cohort in front of me.

When reading time started, I looked through the questions from first to last, making sure to note where exactly it says "END OF QUESTION AND ANSWER BOOKLET" so I don't miss any pages (particularly the back page). I also read the questions carefully, looking for key terms like "show that" or "to 2 decimal places" and made a mental note of highlighting them in writing time. I thought that the exam questions were relatively easy, so I wasted the last few minutes looking at the clock on the wall. Don't do this. Use these minutes to calm yourself or read over the difficult questions again. Again, don't work out any of the questions, reading time allows you to understand the question first.

When writing time start though, my brain went on overdrive and I blanked out. I looked at the first two questions, which were the easiest, and I couldn't do them. So I wasted the first five or so minutes trying to remember chain and quotient rule, when the formula sheet came to my rescue. Guys, if this ever happens to you, breathing exercises and self-motivation are your heroes. I highlighted the key terms and made sure to give as much working out as possible for "show that" questions.

What did you do the day before Exam 2?
Relaxing. Flipped through my bound reference. Imagined myself being in the exam room and planning out what I'm going to do during reading time.

What did you do during Exam 2?
During reading time, I remembered to not look at the clock and just focused on grasping an understanding of the questions. The multiple choice was alright, except for the last few, and the extended response questions were okay until I flipped to the last question. Which threw me off. Other than that, the process was pretty much the same as for Exam 1.

Writing time was better than for Exam 1. BS'd that last question by subbing in random numbers into the function.

What did you do after Exam 2?
When us Year 11s came out of the exam room, we looked at each other and the first thing we said was "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT LAST QUESTION?!?!?!?" I felt like I BOMBED the last question, but I guess as long as you put something on it you'll most likely get working out marks. Better than nothing….

When I came home, I actually cried. Like no joke, I was so frustrated and I felt that the work I did that year was all gone to waste. I then had a talk with my mum, who encouraged me and calmed me down. After that, I celebrated coz VCE exams were OVER!!! (for the year at least)

So I think a valuable lesson to take from this is that if you did the work throughout the year and you felt like you bombed the exam, you probably did better than you think. And even if things don't go as you wanted for a subject, you have your other subjects that can make up for it. Even then, it's okay :) You did your best and that's more than enough.

___________________________________________________

So that's all for now folks! Will update if I remember anything else or if anyone else wants to add anything :)

Good luck with Methods this year!!!
- cookiedream

___________________________________________________

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« Last Edit: January 28, 2018, 02:32:16 pm by cookiedream »
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plsbegentle

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Re: How I Got a Raw 44 in Methods - Tips, Tricks and Regrets
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2017, 08:25:08 pm »
+5
one word: Amazing!
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clarke54321

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Re: How I Got a Raw 44 in Methods - Tips, Tricks and Regrets
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2017, 08:28:29 pm »
+4
This is absolutely incredible. You are wonderful!  :)
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jamonwindeyer

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Re: How I Got a Raw 44 in Methods - Tips, Tricks and Regrets
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2017, 08:32:59 pm »
+3
You are a hero! Did you want me to add those linked images into the post itself for you cookiedream? ;D

cookiedream

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Re: How I Got a Raw 44 in Methods - Tips, Tricks and Regrets
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2017, 08:37:11 pm »
+4
one word: Amazing!

Thank you so much!!

This is absolutely incredible. You are wonderful!  :)

Aw shucks, thank you!!

You are a hero! Did you want me to add those linked images into the post itself for you cookiedream? ;D

Omg thank you so much!! And yes please, I was having trouble doing that hehe ;D
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jamonwindeyer

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Re: How I Got a Raw 44 in Methods - Tips, Tricks and Regrets
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2017, 08:48:39 pm »
+4
Omg thank you so much!! And yes please, I was having trouble doing that hehe ;D

Doneskies! ;D - For future reference if you ever wanted to do it, when you upload the image to Imgur there's a button on the top right for a click down menu, and one of those options is Get Share Links, you get the one for BBCode (Forums) and copy and paste it in ;D basically the idea is:

Code: [Select]
[img]IMAGE LINK[/img]
Really glad I could help, I can only imagine how many hours this would have taken - You are legitimately incredible!


Joseph41

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Re: How I Got a Raw 44 in Methods - Tips, Tricks and Regrets
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2017, 08:54:11 pm »
+7
I didn't know it possible, but I'm legitimately in love with an ATAR Notes thread.
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MightyBeh

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Re: How I Got a Raw 44 in Methods - Tips, Tricks and Regrets
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2017, 08:58:35 pm »
+5
This is great. For real, there's some really excellent advice in here. Adding it to the Methods resource thread. :D
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vcestressed

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Re: How I Got a Raw 44 in Methods - Tips, Tricks and Regrets
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2017, 09:01:56 pm »
+4
really appreciate the time & effort you put into this! :)  :-* <3

j.wang

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Re: How I Got a Raw 44 in Methods - Tips, Tricks and Regrets
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2017, 11:07:10 pm »
+4
are you an angel  ;D

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Re: How I Got a Raw 44 in Methods - Tips, Tricks and Regrets
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2017, 11:13:49 pm »
+4
Ah-mazing  ;D
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Sine

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Re: How I Got a Raw 44 in Methods - Tips, Tricks and Regrets
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2017, 12:43:48 am »
+4
GENERAL ADVICE
...
Good luck with Methods this year!!!
- cookiedream


just a small typo you said don't forget dy/dx at the end of the integral don't you mean dx?  :)

Jamon Edit: Truncated quote :)
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 12:47:26 am by jamonwindeyer »

brenden

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Re: How I Got a Raw 44 in Methods - Tips, Tricks and Regrets
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2017, 09:58:56 am »
+4
Do you mind if I spread this around through our Facebook page etc?
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cookiedream

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Re: How I Got a Raw 44 in Methods - Tips, Tricks and Regrets
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2017, 10:55:33 am »
+5
Do you mind if I spread this around through our Facebook page etc?

I'd love that! Then even more people can benefit from it ^^
Thanks brenden :D
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Ahmad_A_1999

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Re: How I Got a Raw 44 in Methods - Tips, Tricks and Regrets
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2017, 03:06:00 pm »
0
Cookie you've saved my ATAR  ;D

Quick question though, what do you mean the square root of a number by itself is positive? I have this problem as well  :(
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