1. Read the questions carefully.
Use your pencil to underline key terms. You may use different marking (oval, rectangle wavy lines e.t.c) to separate terms relevant to different parts of the question especially if the question has many parts. When you read the question look out for words like “find the value” versus “find the values” . There are also tricky term that make student confuse, for example if x increases by 800%, it means that x is now to 9x and not 8x.
2. Do Not Skip Steps
If you skip steps, it become tedious for you when you do your checking, your short term memory will be overloaded and you make forget how you reached certain steps. You probably have to rely on a lot of mental calculation when you jump steps and it increases the chance of making mistakes. Moreover you may lose method marks if you jump too many steps as some step are essential in the marking scheme.
HOWEVER if you are running out of time, you may skip some steps that you may complete the paper.
3. Transfer errors and “color symbol blindness”
Transfer error happens when you copy the wrong numbers/words/symbols from one step to the next . “symbol blindness” mean you see the wrong math operators e.g. plus instead of divide, square root instead of cube root. You have to remind yourself to be vigilant at all times.
4. Do intermediate checks as well as final checks.
Intermediate check are quick check that you do after every three to four steps of working. No it is not a Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and it is not a waste of time. Why do we do intermediate check when we can check after we complete the paper. Firstly, if you only check at the end, you may already forget what the question is all about, you need to re-read the whole question to recall how you solved. Secondly, if the answer for the first part is needed to solve the other parts, you will be able to spot the error before creating more errors.
5. Using the wrong unit of measurement
Sounds familiar? Using units in degrees to substitute into formulas like A=1/2 r2θ or s=rθ or writing down your final answer in cm2 instead of m2. Not only must you know which units of measurement to use, you must also be able to quickly convert from one unit to another e,g, 1km2= 1000 000m2 , 1 litre = 1000cm2 , 1 km/h = 36/10 m/s.
6. Keep your eyes on the clock
You have a maximum of 1.5 min (90 sec) for every 1 mark, at this rate you will finish the paper just in time without any spare time for checking. Use this as indicator to check if you are spending too long on a question. Preferably you should have about 16 min checking time for Additional Math / Math Paper 1 and 20 min for Paper 2, this mean you will have to complete each question at 1 min 20 sec (80 sec).
7. Write Neatly.
If you cannot see your own handwriting ( potential doctors) you will make mistakes when you calculate and you will have problems checking your paper. The examiner will not be able to mark your script properly and you will lose marks.
Tips for Sec 4 and Sec 5 students taking the o-level (o level) exam for additional math (amath) and Math (emath).