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October 23, 2019, 11:28:51 pm

Author Topic: Zhenís Mathematical Methods Exam 2 Guide  (Read 3472 times)  Share 

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zhen

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Zhenís Mathematical Methods Exam 2 Guide
« on: December 29, 2017, 11:28:15 am »
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Zhen's Mathematical Methods Exam 2 Guide
I had some reservations personally about writing up an exam 2 guide. I was a bit reluctant to write one cause Iím pretty sure I lost all my marks in exam 2 and I went out of exam 2 feeling really bad. Also, unlike in my exam 1 guide, I probably wonít be able to go through common questions, cause the questions vary quite a bit in exam 2. Anyway, hereís my attempt at writing up an exam 2 guide. Before I start, you can check up my tips for exam 1 here. All of the recommendations for what to do during reading time, writing time and after finishing the exam are applicable to exam 2. So, Iím not going to repeat that stuff and you should just check that stuff out in the link.

What should I do for my bound reference?
This is a really common question that gets asked a lot throughout the forums. Honestly, Iím not the best person to ask. My bound reference for methods was about 10 pages long and my bound reference for specialist maths was about 3 pages long. But, not doing a proper bound reference is one of my regrets, cause listing out difficult questions and putting them into my bound reference throughout the year could have helped me out. Just a heads up, expect to never use your bound reference during you exam, cause youíll be too pressed for time. However, making one is still a good form of revision. Ok, a few tips about writing a bound reference from me. If youíre going to make a really long bound reference, make sure itís organised well and you have a contents page so you can easily find what youíre looking for. So, if you do end up using you bound reference, you wonít be wasting too much time trying to find things. Also, Iíd recommend filling your bound reference up with short summaries of topics and a lot of hard questions. This is so you essentially use your bound reference as a way to understand and list out all the difficult questions you encounter. Also, this may be a personal preference, but I recommend leaving the first page for the stuff you think youíll use during the exam. Personally my first page was filled with formulas I thought I might need to use during the actual exam. So, fill the first page up with that stuff so itís easily accessible during your exam. Again, Iím just warning you guys that Iím no bound reference expert cause I didnít spend enough time making one personally.

How do I prepare for this exam?
Personally for maths subjects, I feel like doing heaps of practice questions and practice exam generally is still the best way to improve your marks. However, for the first few practice exams, Iíd treat them like a worksheet and go through the questions one by one, checking the worked solutions right afterwards. This would allow me to fully understand how to approach certain questions and helped me to know how to approach the basic questions. In my opinion, this is a good way to start off, cause I feel like correcting an exam an hour after you do it isnít as effective as correcting as you go, as itís still fresh in your mind. However, you still want to quickly transition into doing timed practice exams after doing a few exams like this to emulate the exam conditions. I just feel like the above was personally a good way to improve my ability in the starting stages of my revision.

How do I effectively use my CAS for exam 2?
Before I start, most of the advice here is from the perspective of a Ti-nspire person, so may not be applicable to people with other calculators. So, I wasnít one of those amazing people who defined various functions in their CAS. I had a friend who made something that could easily determine stationary points and their nature. Even though I wasnít a CAS expert, I still knew a decent amount about using my CAS. I recommend memorising all the commonly used functions on the CAS. For example, I memorised that Menu 3-1 is solve, Menu 3-2 is factorise, Menu 3-3 is expand, Menu 3-7-1 is simultaneous equations, Menu 4-1 is differentiate, Menu 4-3 is integrate. I also knew the approximate area of all the buttons on the CAS that I frequently used, which is helpful for typing a bit faster and not wasting as much time when typing in equations. Furthermore, another tip I have is to define functions your equations. This is so that when they ask you to do various things to the equation such as solve for x-intercepts or differentiate it, you can eaily do these things without typing out the entire question all over again.

What do I do if I come across a question I canít do?
The first thing I recommend doing is to look at the previous part of the question and see if they give a clue as to how you solve the question youíre stuck on. Personally, I feel like VCAA generally tries to lead you on the right path with every part and sometimes we need to use the previous part to solve the current one. If you still canít solve the question, you have two options. You can continue trying to solve it or skip it and move to the next question. I honestly feel like the latter is a better option. Personally, I would put some working out down so I might get a few marks and move on. But afterwards Iíd make sure I come back to the question and do it afterwards. Donít make the mistake of forgetting to redo a question you skipped. I personally made this mistake in one of my SACs. I personally feel like when I approach the question for a second time after Iíve skipped it, Iíll be much more likely to solve it cause my brain goes through it at the back of my mind.

How do I minimise those silly mistakes?
Ok, so before we start going through the stuff to do in the exam, Iíd recommend writing out all your mistakes throughout the year. Have a massive list of mistakes to refer to so that you can prevent them from happening. Alright now to get onto stuff to do during the exam. Like in exam 1, itís good to cover your work and check it all over again, but in exam 2 I donít think people have enough time to actually do that. I recommend using your CAS for just about everything. Itís much easier to make a mistake from doing it youself than with a CAS. The only thing you need to watch out for with a CAS is typing in the equation correctly. Your CAS doesnít make silly mistakes so use that to your advantage. Personally, I found it harder to make silly mistakes for technology active exams cause I could do it by hand (when the question allowed me to) and check it on the CAS. The ability to easily check equations and answers on the CAS is really beneficial to minimising these mistakes.

How do I approach those difficult application questions
In my opinion, there no set way to approach these sorts of questions. Personally, Iíd just do as many practice questions as I could, so that whatever question I get, I could apply my knowledge from past questions to approach the question right in front of me. However, there are going to be questions thrown at you that youíve never seen before. If you get these questions, the worst thing you can do is panic. There are some questions that appear to look difficult, but can be easily solved if you donít panic and approach it systematically. Personally, I would instinctually think about the different concepts that applied to each question and what formulas Iíd use. For example, if they asked for me to find the maximum, Iíd think about the end points and differentiating. If you can isolate the different concepts and formulas that apply to a question, it becomes much easier to do.

Ok, Iím stuck not knowing what to add onto this right now. So, if you have any requests for things to add, leave it below and Iíll edit this post. Also, feel free to ask any relevant questions below.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2017, 11:50:02 am by zhen »

cookiedream

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Re: Zhenís Mathematical Methods Exam 2 Guide
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2017, 11:40:09 am »
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Really good and detailed advice here, particularly the section about minimising silly mistakes. Awesome work, zhen!!!
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Re: Zhenís Mathematical Methods Exam 2 Guide
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2018, 02:30:16 am »
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To future Methods students:

Having a log book of all your mistakes is definitely your secret weapon in minimising mistakes. Regularly going over it in exam period will ensure you will never make the same mistake again. As expected, the advice on here is endorsed!

For the CAS, I personally found a great program which I downloaded onto my cas at scriptedmath.com. It maintains all the calculators functions but gives you extra optional functions such as instantly finding all the key points (stationary points, intercepts, maybe even asymptotes sometimes) and their nature. It never failed me once so this program is something to consider and it seems to have no strings attached to it either.

People definitely underestimate the power of the CAS.
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Re: Zhenís Mathematical Methods Exam 2 Guide
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2018, 08:04:07 pm »
+3
Thanks so much zhen, I always have problems with making silly mistakes in exams, and I rarely go back and check over my work, since I find that checking annoys me, since my brain goes on a loop. How could I stop doing that and have a more effective checking technique?

Thanks again for this guide, it will be my lifesaver this year :)
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zhen

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Re: Zhenís Mathematical Methods Exam 2 Guide
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2018, 08:30:22 pm »
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Thanks so much zhen, I always have problems with making silly mistakes in exams, and I rarely go back and check over my work, since I find that checking annoys me, since my brain goes on a loop. How could I stop doing that and have a more effective checking technique?

Thanks again for this guide, it will be my lifesaver this year :)
Hey, you can find some other advice on silly mistakes in the exam 1 guide here. Itís under the what to do after you finish part. Basically, people end up repeating the same mistake cause theyíre influenced by their prior answer. To stop this from happening, you can cover your work and redo the questions with your answers and working covered. Alternatively, you can try a different method of solving the same question. There is generally more than one way of solving a question and doing it a different way reduces these careless errors.

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Re: Zhenís Mathematical Methods Exam 2 Guide
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2018, 11:17:02 pm »
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Hey, you can find some other advice on silly mistakes in the exam 1 guide here. Itís under the what to do after you finish part. Basically, people end up repeating the same mistake cause theyíre influenced by their prior answer. To stop this from happening, you can cover your work and redo the questions with your answers and working covered. Alternatively, you can try a different method of solving the same question. There is generally more than one way of solving a question and doing it a different way reduces these careless errors.
Thanks zhen, loved your 1st exam guide as well. The problem with what you say is that once I have decided a way to work out a question, my mind becomes fixed on that method and I can't really think of any other way. Still, I'll keep trying! :D
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Re: Zhenís Mathematical Methods Exam 2 Guide
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2018, 11:46:08 pm »
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Thanks zhen, loved your 1st exam guide as well. The problem with what you say is that once I have decided a way to work out a question, my mind becomes fixed on that method and I can't really think of any other way. Still, I'll keep trying! :D
Sometimes itís difficult to find a new method and if you canít find a new method, covering your work and redoing it using the same formulas/method can still help. Looking back at my exam 1, I think I only checked my work with a different method for one or two questions. The rest I redid all the questions using the same method, but it still helped me fix about 10 marks worth of mistakes. If the method you use is correct, but you made a small arithmetic mistake, then covering and redoing it the same way usually allows you to spot the mistake cause you end up with a different answer to your original one.