Challenges and Tips for Math

If you ask some students, very few would probably say that they like math because many students actually hate it. The complicated formulas that need to be memorized make it hard for students to easily comprehend and understand. There will always be problems and difficulties. However, we should also know that there will always be solutions and ways. And in this article, we are going to tell you more about it.

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To start, The Culture SG will give us tips for the final lap of preparation.


As the prelims exams draw to an end for some schools, and some even collected the grades back. Many students must be disheartened about their grades too. So there are many questions coming in from different students and I thought I can share some of my responses here.

  1. How should I prepare for my A-level?

Firstly, this highly depends on your standards or how you did for prelims (and we should not focus on physical grade here but your percentile!). For students who are consistently 90th percentile and above, I told them to ensure they spend at least 9 hours weekly on H2 Mathematics. 3H without break for each paper 1 and 2. The other 3H to review their mistakes and recap the conceptual problems. They can also let me mark and review their work together. And the end of the day, presentation is really important at A-levels.

Next, for students that have problems passing their prelims. You should not be disheartened if the median mark of your school is 42 (I know of one), Work harder, look at your mistakes and find out what your struggles with the papers are. I have numerous students who consult me with their papers and ask me about their standards individually. They wanted to know where they stand and how they can improve. And I was glad to enlighten them. Times not on our side, so you need to optimise your learning here. Read more here.

There are tips on how you should prepare for A-level math and according to them it would also depend on your performance in the prelims. Now, let us read an article by Lorna O’Hara which is about students sharing how they overcame obstacles to do well in A-levels. Let us read about it below.

Ex-CJC students share how they overcame obstacles to do well in A-levels

Visually-impaired boy’s Math A-level results came as a ‘surprise’

Eighteen-year-old Caleb Tay was born with low central vision and colour blindness. And he loathed Maths.

“I couldn’t understand anything that the [Math] lecturers were saying and I was very discouraged,” said the Catholic Junior College alumnus on March 2.

“I actually thought of dropping from H2 [Higher Level 2] to H1 [Higher Level 1],” he added.

Thus, Tay was pleasantly surprised when he scored an A for his H2 Math.

For his other H2 subjects, he scored Bs for Chemistry and Biology, whereas for his H1 subjects, he scored As for his General Paper and Project Work, and a B for Economics.

“I have my Math teacher [Mr Kuang Kim Chun] to thank,” said Tay. “He helped alleviate a lot of stress” by explaining Math concepts. Read more here.

Setting priorities right. Many students really have activities and responsibilities in school that they need to attend to at the same time. However, like what we have read above, you have to set your priorities in order to make things organized and well. In relation to that, Victoria Neumark will tell us about the challenges of learning and teaching maths.

The challenges of learning and teaching maths

Things are looking up for mathematics. A few years ago, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) subjects were the focus of much hand-wringing and a government inquiry. Revamping sixth-form mathematics had resulted in a drop in maths A-level entry, Stem subjects were under-recruiting at university, and it was still fashionable for adults to admit “I’m no good at maths,” despite mathematical understanding underpinning not only all the other sciences but daily life and the national economy, from credit card rates to plumbing repairs to air traffic control and the risks of taking medication.

Adrian Smith’s 2004 report into post-14 mathematics was blunt: to compete in the global economy, the UK needed more specialist mathematics teachers with better continuing professional development (CPD) and a curriculum focused on the real world. There followed the Sainsbury review of 2007 on scientific research, the Williams report of 2008 on primary maths and last year’s (2009) CBI report demanding more business involvement in Stem higher education. Read more here.

Teachers are really important for the education of children. They are the role models. However, just like what was said above, teachers lack the confidence in imparting knowledge, and that makes students adapt the lack of confidence from their teachers. Challenges will always be there, but we have to do something about it. Students and teachers must work together in order to make learning effective.

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