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How to Study for a Mathematics Examination

If you need to support your children to prepare for their mathematics exam and you are not sure how to go about it, this video is for you.


Good morning! This is Jason Ursino from Learning Space and I'm driving to school.

Today I'm going to be talking about how to study for mathematics or how to study for a mathematics exam.

Now mathematics is a different beast to other subjects. In other subjects, you need to write out notes, you need to memorise certain things, dates, quotes, etc. But for mathematics, it's not really about memorising, you don't need to memorise formulas. A lot of exams nowadays have formula sheets, or what they call ‘reference sheets’ in the HSC. In today's day and age, it's all about doing questions. To study for mathematics, you need to make sure that you do as many exam-style questions as possible. When you first learn something in mathematics, you do questions from the textbook. Textbook-style questions is about understanding the concept, understanding the skills, being able to do the algorithm of a particular mathematical skill. But when it comes to the exams, we do have some of those fluency, ‘Type A’ questions in the exams; however, you do have some sort of high level thinking, ‘Type B’ questions in the exams as well. And you don't find too many of them in the textbook. So the idea is that you need to practice as many Type A and B questions as possible. So you need to get as many exam-style questions as possible and you need to do as many exam-style questions as possible before the exam.

The way to do this; the first thing that you should do is you should approach a teacher or your school or go into your school portal, and get as many past papers as possible. The reason why past papers are good is because they give you the exam-style questions and they also give you the style that your school gives you. So that gives you a good idea of what it's like and what and what exam questions are coming up. Then you would need to get as many questions as you can from other resources. Do you have friends from a different school who can get past papers? Or do you have some sort of platform, mathematical platform that your school uses where you can get questions from. Your textbook, even though most of it is textbook-style questions; a lot of them have challenging exercises at the end of chapters and at the end of exercises. Have a look at those challenging questions. They are exam-style questions as well.

So the idea is that you would like to do as many questions as possible, say, actually put pen to paper and do as many questions as possible before the exam. You do not want to just sit down and write out your notes and memorise formulas. You want to DO questions.

Now, if you're someone that says, “well, look, you know, I'm someone that needs to learn something because I didn't really understand it, or there's a particular formula that I forget. So I need to write out some notes and memorise stuff”.

My argument against that is, when you do your practice questions, when you get stuck on a particular concept, you automatically go back and look at that formula or look at that skill, or have a look to see that algorithm on how it's done. That's automatically done. So that's important. And if you do it a few times, then you're going to start to remember that formula. So if that question comes up again, and again, let's say you always forget the area of a circle, πr², if you do a whole heap of questions, and it requires you to find the area of a circle, πr², then you will eventually remember the formula because you've applied it so many times. That's very important.

So what you want to do is you want to make sure that you do as many questions as possible. The other reason why you want to do that is because you're exposing yourself to a larger scope of questions. So when you sit down and do the questions in your exam, there's a good chance that you have come across something similar before in your study. So that's really important as well.

So when you study for maths, try to study for a particular exam, well in advance so you're not leaving to the last minute, and just do as many questions as possible, put pen to paper, and do as many questions as possible. Even try and get an exercise book and fill it up. Just buy an exercise book and just fill it up with questions. Question after question after question. If you do exam-style questions, that's even better.

If you like my videos, there are more of them and and have a good day.

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