1. Show all working out. Ensuring that all of your reasoning and working is written down is crucial to obtain partial marks if your final solution is incorrect. Writing down all your working out also allows you to easily review and follow your solutions when checking your answers at the end. The marker can only mark what you have written, so don’t forget to include even the simplest of steps and calculations.
2. Substitute your answer back into the equation. When you solve an equation or inequality, check your solution by substituting your solution back into the original equation. Not all questions will allow you to do this, but where applicable, substituting the answer back in can minimise silly errors.
3. Look at the number of marks available. Check the amount of marks each questions is worth. If a question is worth only 1 mark, it will most likely require substituting a value into a formula or equation. If you find yourself writing half a page for 1 mark, then you are probably answering the question the wrong way. Stop and think before you start writing long solutions for 1 or 2 mark questions.
4. Use your reading time to interpret diagrams or graphs. At the start of reading time, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the last question, just to ensure that you answer every question up to it an including it. After you have familiarised yourself with the paper, turn to any questions that have graphs or diagrams. This will give you time to read the question thoroughly and start forming a solution. In 2 unit and 3 unit, you can start answering the geometry questions in your head before writing time has even started!
5. When questions say hence or otherwise, almost always use hence. Unless you know of a particular technique to solve the problem using less time, which is more accurate, always refer to the previous parts of the question. The examiners structure the questions to test your ability to combine different elements of the mathematics course. Normally, you will have to substitute or rearrange a previous part in order to answer the next part of the question.
6. Bring the correct equipment. This includes at least 2 calculators and a ruler. Try to make graphs and diagrams one-third to half a page in size. Use pencil for graphing functions and drawing diagrams so you can easily change them if you incorrectly draw them. Pen should be used for the rest of the paper.
7. Flag questions which require a high amount of calculation and come back to them at the end. It is quite easy to make a mistake when substituting values into the calculator. In general maths, when asked to compute the median or standard deviation of a set of data, or when integrating to find area or volume in 2 unit or 3 unit, it is very easy to make a computational error. Re-do the question after you have finished answering the paper, comparing your answers to ensure the calculation is correct.
Lindsay Ingram- Capra Maths TutorDate Posted: 7 October 2015