• Helen

Week starting 19 October

Welcome back to another Maths Methods post where we discuss everything and anything VCE Maths related! This week’s post will focus on exam 2 and your one very important tool - the CAS/Casio calculator. So let’s get into it, shall we?

Exam 2

Counting for 44% of your study score, Methods Exam 2 is inevitably a heavy task and one that employs a wide range of skills learnt throughout the year. In simple terms, Methods Exam 2 is like the new Hungry Jacks’ Big Jack burger - it’s big, it’s complex, it’s delicious (questionable) and it has many layers. Thus it’s the one exam that students stress over.

Exam 2 is all about speed and accuracy.

With only 2 hours to complete a set of 20 multiple choice questions and 4-5 extended response questions, many students (including my year-12 me) complained about not having enough time. Thankfully you do have 15 minutes of reading time at the start and it is crucial that you use it wisely.

I would spend the majority of my reading time to prioritise reading through the Multiple choice section. This is a really useful time saving strategy since by reading you might be able to figure out the questions without having to pick up your pen! This means once writing time starts, you’ll save an accumulated amount of roughly 10 minutes. Eventually, as you progress through your practice exams, try aiming to finish the MCQs within the 30-40 minutes of the exam.


The Calculator - an important tool in Exam 2

Walking into your Methods Exam 2, you will be allowed one bound reference, a CAS/Casio calculator and some other basic stationery (pens, pencils, rulers, etc.) I have talked about the use of bound reference in my previous post so the focus is on the calculator and how using it effectively will save you so much time.

I am so glad for having practiced using my CAS over and over until I was fast and fluid with it. Instead of spending time looking for where the buttons for everything are, once you are used to using your calculator, it almost becomes muscle memory where each function and symbol is. Therefore I would strongly recommend befriending your CAS during exam revision to then use it to your advantage in the real exam. Here are some few steps you can take to make sure you’ve got a good grasp of the CAS:

1. Read through the CAS/Casio instructions in your textbook.

These sections are usually and unfortunately underrated hence ignored by most students but they give you the skills that you need for the CAS in all exam questions! After reading through it you can also choose to do step 2.

2. Copy the instructions into your bound reference if not sure.

You’ve got the bound reference AND the calculator to help you in one exam, why not use them together? Whenever you encounter a set of complex CAS instructions that you struggle to memorise I’d recommend writing it into your cheat sheet book for your reference (duh) for the day.

2. Define! Define! Define!

Once again I am honing down on the time saving nature of the CAS - defining a function at the start of each question (especially Extended Response questions) makes you not only time efficient in the exam but helps you to avoid silly/human errors when manually typing down looooong equations.

This week’s been all about SPEED and how to maximise your use of time in the exam to your advantage. Let me know if you have any other tips that you want to share on how you manage your time in the exams!

I’ll see you next week!

Have a question?


In the final weeks before exams Helen will be hosting 2 Live Q&A sessions to help everyone get fully prepared for exams. If you have a question on how to best get prepared, have been stuck on an exam question or want to clarify an area of content send it through here, and Helen might answer it live!

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