**Preparing for exam (part 2)**

*September 21, 2018*

If you have not seen part 1, you may do so below (video):

In part two, I will share with you some tips to tackle a math exam paper as well as some of the common practices which I think are not ideal.

A) "Not - so - good" exam behvaiour

Let us look at some of the common issues on how a student tackle an exam paper.

Let us look at some of the common issues on how a student tackle an exam paper.

(1) Some students LIKE to rush to solve the problems the moment the exam begins without spending time looking through the entire paper to have a gauge on the difficulty and format. This may affect their time management as they do not know what they are going to expect as they are in the midst of the exam.

(2) Students love to solve problems in numerical order rather than the level of difficulty. They may spend unnecessary time getting stuck at the questions at the front while the easier ones may be at the back.

(3) Students often leave the entire question blank just because they are stuck at the first part, not knowing that they can still proceed with the other parts of the questions which may contain the majority of the marks.

(4) When there is little time left, some students may choose to use it to attempt questions they are stuck with rather than ensuring they do not get marks deducted through unnecessary mistakes.

B) Purpose of exam (from student's point of view)

Here are some mindset that students may have when it comes to tackling examination which I disagree with.

(1) YES, we often encourage students not to leave blanks and attempt all questions. However students will need to know how much time to invest in questions they are confident with and those that they have no idea on how to begin. At the end of the day attempting all questions does not necessarily mean you will get a better grade than another student who attempted, say 80%, of the paper.

(2) During usual school time teachers may emphasize a lot on using algebra skills, and how students’ algebra skills have deteriorated due to calculators. In exam, it is not the time to try and solve EVERYTHING using algebra, especially if the student’s algebra skills isn’t that fantastic. The graphic calculator is a very powerful tool that students should exploit whenever possible.

(3) Exam is all about getting the maximum number of marks within your reach. So the important thing is to secure all the marks from the questions a student is confident in by avoiding all unnecessary mistakes, rather than rushing to solve challenging problems and making careless mistakes everywhere.

C) Recommended exam strategy

Here are some of my personal recommended exam strategy that I share with my students:

Step 1: Spend the first 3 to 5 minutes of the exam to scan through the questions in the paper. Mark out questions you are confident and also write down the formula you need for the question before you forget them later. Ask yourself this question when you encounter a new question: (a) What topic is this? (b) What formula do I need? (c) Can I use the graphic calculator to solve this question?

Step 2: Begin each question on a fresh piece of paper, in this way you do not need to attempt the questions in numerical order since you can always rearrange your answer script in numerical order before submission. You should focus on the questions you feel confident and score as many marks as you can.

Step 3: If you are stuck at one part of the question, ask yourself can you still continue with the later parts of the question? Especially when the question gave you the answer to the part you are stuck but you can still use this answer to continue with the later parts. For the parts you are stuck, you might want to write down some formula and attempt some working rather than leaving it blank. However if time is not enough, proceed with other questions first.

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That’s my suggestion on how to tackle an examination paper. If you find it useful, do share with your friends. Do “like” my Facebook page to be updated with any new tips for A level math. If you are looking for a professional tutor to coach you or your child, do drop me a message on Whatsapp or Facebook page.

Thank you for watching this video and I will see you soon, GOOD LUCK!