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Tips from 50 marks Student

Ever wonder what it takes to get full marks in Maths Methods?

We asked a past student with a raw score of 50 in Methods to give us his tips for success! Check out the sheer volume of past papers he completed before the final exams – a stack 48 centimetres tall and 30+ more on his computer! Read on for his secrets to success…

1.        Don’t do exams until you finish learning all the content

This is the number one mistake I see students making – they start devoting their time to practice exams before they have learnt all the content. You can do individual exam questions on the topics you have already studied (i.e., using the Methods Checkpoints book), just don’t attempt entire exams prematurely because it ‘spoils’ the limited number of exams you have to practice. VCAA and company papers also have a habit of combining multiple concepts into a single question – only by first learning all the content can you be prepared to tackle these harder problems.

2.        Don’t rely solely on the textbook, nor rely solely on exams

You need to strike a balance between these two revision methods. Exam questions and textbook questions are vastly different – if you only follow the textbook, you will find exam questions are difficult and unfamiliar, and if you only do practice exams, there will be a lot of general knowledge that you might miss.

3.        Be consistent

There is no point rushing all the practice exams one week before the real exam, or trying to complete all the textbook questions in one sitting. Not only is this impractical time-wise, you won’t remember much information and you might burn out right before the exam! Instead, space out your practice exams and do them at a consistent pace, say, 4 exams a week. 

4.        Be respectful to your teachers and participate in class

They are the ones who are going to mark your SACs!!

5.        Work with friends

Especially friends who are around the same level as you. Not only can you help each other out, but it can be quite motivating to do work alongside a friend (whether through an online call or in person).

6.        Know your CAS inside out

Knowing the various functions of your CAS calculator is crucial for excelling in Methods. Use the CAS manual or online videos to learn everything important and useful there is to know.

7.        Write in pencil

This is pretty self-explanatory – if you make a mistake in pencil, you can rub it out. This way your working out will be much neater and more readable for your examiner/teacher. Just be sure to use a pencil that has a dark enough lead, and have a good eraser on hand. Some schools may specify that you need to use a pen for your SACs, but for the exam, it is much better to use a pencil rather than a pen.

8.        Don’t devote your entire life to one subject

        For students in Year 12, this goes without saying. But if you are doing Methods 3&4 in Year 11, it is understandable that you might spend most of your time doing this subject. However, you also need to work hard in your other subjects, as Units 1 and 2 provide the foundation of your learning in Units 3 and 4. It will be extremely hard to catch up if you don’t focus in Units 1 and 2. Besides, focusing on your other subjects allows you to take a break from Methods work – need a break from doing Methods exams? Go do some Physics or Economics homework!