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  • Helen

Week starting 24 September

Practice Exam P1 - Filling up the knowledge gaps

7 weeks to go until the finish line and it’s time for the practice-exam marathon!

Doing practice exams in my opinion was the bread and butter of Maths Methods revision. However, doing it right is 100 times more important than purely just “doing” it. In the next 2 weeks we are focusing on practice exams and, you guessed it, how to do it right.

This week is all about filling up the knowledge gaps!

In the early days of doing practice exams, I didn’t try to rush through the whole exam in 2 hours straight away but I took the opportunity after each exam to spot my weaknesses i.e. which topic I was struggling with, which type of question (MCQ, short answer, extended response) I was not comfortable doing.

Depending own the issue I was facing (e.g. type of question, which part of the exam, which skill I was lacking), I would then come back to my textbook/checkpoints/notes to make sure that I did the following:

1. I read through the examples and understood them thoroughly

  • My tip here is to try looking specifically at textbook examples that resemble the question you’re struggling with.

2. I understood and memorised the formulas

  • Ask yourself the question of “Do I understand why this formula is used in this question?”

  • In my experience, understanding the formula always helped my memory so much better than rote-learning. Not only does it help the formula to stick in your head but you will be able to know exactly when you should use a certain formula in the exam.

3. I took notes of important formulas and concepts in my cheat sheet book

  • If I was still struggling with memorising formulas, I would make sure to highlight them in my cheat sheet.

4. I made sure I was comfortable with using the CAS for this particular topic

  • Knowing how to utilise the CAS is extremely important in Exam 2! This will help you save time in the exam and avoid possible errors in your calculations.

5. If the question was hard - I would copy it into my cheat sheet.

  • As mentioned in week 2, I had the habit of putting down hard/weird questions into my cheat sheet. This, for me, was excellent in serving 2 purposes. It gave me a peace of mind walking into the exam knowing that I’ve got some difficult questions “up my sleeve”. Additionally, having to write it down into the cheat sheet one more time really reinforced my memory and understanding of the question.

6. I redid some textbook questions and checkpoint questions

  • Practice practice and more practice! I absolutely found redoing difficult questions in a challenging topic helped so much in improving my skills hence helping me to maximise my performance in the exam.

However, please keep in mind that you are not revising by yourself! Your teacher and friends are always there to help you get through this process. At the same time as trying to fill the knowledge gap on my own, I was so glad that I reached out for help. My teacher was very happy to sit down and go through any problems that I had. My friends were able to explain the concept in such a way that was much easier to understand than the textbook!

The purpose of today is to encourage you to seek out your weaknesses and proactively work on them! I know we might feel a bit daunted and discouraged when facing this wall but keep in mind hard work smart work pays off!

Look forward to seeing you again in next week’s video on Practice Exam Part 2!

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